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Australian NRL star wins rape case

Former Australian rugby league star Jarryd Hayne has won his appeal and was ordered to stand trial for a fourth time in the same case.

The 36-year-old was convicted by a jury of sexual assault last year and sentenced to at least three years in prison.

He repeatedly denied attacking the woman – who cannot legally be named – in her bedroom, claiming the pair had consensual sex.

Prosecutors are now considering whether to drop the charges against him, they said in a statement.

Mr. Hayne is one of the most decorated athletes in the Australian National Football League (NRL) and briefly played American football in the NFL.

His 26-year-old accuser told the New South Wales (NSW) District Court that the pair had been chatting on social media for two weeks before Mr Hayne stopped by her home in Newcastle – about two hours outside of Sydney. north – after a bachelor party in September 2018.

She said Mr Hayne forced her into it, despite her saying “no” and “stop”, causing her to bleed.

Mr. Hayne’s appeal was heard in April by a three-judge panel from the state’s high court.

On Wednesday, two of the three ruled that the trial judge erred in prohibiting cross-examination of the woman over several text messages, which Mr. Hayne’s legal team said implied her consent.

In delivering his verdict, Judge Stephen Rothman said it had amounted to a miscarriage of justice, ordering Mr Hayne’s conviction to be overturned.

He has been released on bail and will be released from prison.

In a statement, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said it would “look into it [the] verdict” and any decision on the possibility of a retrial will be made in accordance with its instructions.

Last year’s trial was the third time Mr. Hayne had to stand before a jury on similar charges. His first trial ended with a hung jury, and the guilty verdict in the second trial was overturned on appeal.

He spent nearly two years in prison as the legal saga unfolded, and his accuser was forced to give evidence and face lengthy cross-examination on multiple occasions.

In her written reasons, Justice Deborah Sweeney said a fourth trial in her view “would not be in the interests of justice”.

Judge Rothman agreed, saying a trial was “unlikely” to take place before Mr Hayne’s non-parole period expired – and he had already served most of it anyway.

However, both emphasized that the future of the case depends on the DPP.

A former captain of the Parramatta Eels, Mr Hayne won the NRL player of the year award twice and played 11 matches for Australia.

At the peak of his career in Australia, in 2015 he joined the NFL in the US with the San Francisco 49ers.


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