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    After almost three years, the sexual assault charges against NRL star Jack de Belin have been withdrawn by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

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      jack de belin sexual assault

      Criminal Lawyer Explains Why Jack de Belin Sexual Assault Charges Were Withdrawn

      After almost three years, the sexual assault charges against NRL star Jack de Belin have been withdrawn by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

      Following a second jury being unable to reach a unanimous verdict, the DPP had the option of choosing to subject de Belin and his co-accused Callum Sinclair to a third trial. However, they chose not to. 

      This means that de Belin is also no longer subject to the controversial ‘no fault’ stand down rule and can resume playing for the St George Illawarra Dragons.

      The decision brings to an end a tumultuous three years that split public opinion on both de Belin and the ‘no fault’ stand down policy.

      Jack de Belin Sexual Assault Charges Withdrawn

      Jack de Belin’s sexual assault charges were formally withdrawn by the DPP at Downing Centre Court on Thursday, 27 May 2021.

      “In the matter of both Mr de Belin and Mr Sinclair, the director has determined there will be no further proceedings,” Crown prosecutor Craig Everson said.

      However, de Belin’s lawyers for sexual assault charges were leaked to the media 24 hours prior to being dismissed in court.

      This drew the ire of Judge Dina Yehia who said it was a “discourtesy to the court” that the news had been given to the media.

      The Crown told the court that 20 minutes after the DPP advised de Belin’s lawyers of the decision to withdraw the charges, The Daily Telegraph had published a report.

      “That is not something that was communicated to the press by the director or the crown. The timetable, as I understand it, is that a communication was made to the lawyer for the accused then (journalist Phil) Rothfield seemed to be on the story within 20 minutes.”

      Judge Yehia said, “I will make some inquiries but I can tell you I’m not pleased with the way it was leaked to the press.”

      “The crown is in furious agreement,” Mr Everson said.

      he decision will allow the NRL star to return to action for the first time in 987 days.

      Sexual Assault Lawyers Speak Out

      Mr de Belin was accused of assaulting a 19-year-old woman alongside Mr Sinclair inside a North Wollongong unit in December 2018. It was not in dispute that the parties had met on the dancefloor of a Wollongong nightclub.

      30-year-old de Belin and 24-year-old Sinclair pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated sexual assault. They maintained that the encounter was entirely consensual. A detailed explanation of the evidence can be viewed by clicking here.

      Outside Downing Centre District Court, Mr de Belin’s criminal lawyers addressed the media throng, stating, “It’s been a very long road, no one had any idea how long the road would be. The indictment has now been marked as spent and these proceedings are at an end. Jack de Belin is very relieved and looking forward to getting back to playing football.”

      After deliberating for almost a week, a jury last month found de Belin ‘not guilty’ of one of the sexual assault charges under Section 61I of the Crimes Act 1900.

      NRL No Fault Stand Down Policy

      Jack de Belin was the first player subject to the NRL ‘no fault’ stand down rule, under which anyone charged with a crime that carries a sentence of 11 years or more is not allowed to take the field.

      This rule courted controversy as some suggested it did not any weight to the presumption of innocence.

      Mr de Belin’s last game for the Dragons was on 15 September 2018 – a semi-final loss to South Sydney.

      NRL chief executive officer Andrew Abdo said Mr de Belin would be able to play as soon as his charges were officially dropped.

      The NRL on Thursday issued an impassioned plea for fans not to vilify the St George Illawarra icon when he steps back onto the pitch, with Mr Abdo emphasising he had not been convicted of any crime.

      Mr Abdo said, “I’m not sure how fans will receive Jack. If these charges are in fact dropped, and he has not been found guilty of any crime, and he’s free to play in the competition, we don’t expect any vilification or any abuse from our fans.”

      He also defended the NRL’s stand-down rule, saying it had been implemented to protect the integrity of the game – despite Mr de Belin being forced to spend nearly three years on the sidelines with no finding of guilt against him.

      Mr Abdo said the no-fault rule protected the game’s commercial interests and said Mr de Belin’s case was proof that “our process is working”.

      “It was found that this no-fault stand-down policy was fair and reasonable and is in the best interests of the game. As far as I know, there will be no review of this policy.”

      “We’ve had this matter tested in the Federal Court. We’ve gone through an arbitration process with the players’ association and on both counts we’ve found the no-fault policy is fair and reasonable, and certainly in the best interest of the game.”

      Dragons CEO Ryan Webb called the end of the saga a “relief” and “concluded a tumultuous period for all involved”. He said the club and de Belin were ready to move forward.

      “He will be able to play reserve grade on Saturday against the West Magpies. He’ll join the first grade squad for training from next week and he will be able to play from then.”

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