Hayne at party before alleged sex assault
Former NRL superstar Jarryd Hayne had been at a two-day buck's party for a fellow rugby league player on the weekend he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman at her home on the outskirts of Newcastle, a court has heard.
Mr Hayne is on trial at Newcastle District Court for the alleged attack on the woman on September 30, 2018 - the night of that year's NRL grand final - when he is accused of performing oral and digital sex on her without her consent.
The 32-year-old has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual intercourse without consent aggravated by recklessly inflicting actual bodily harm.
He arrived at court on Monday flanked by his mother Jodie Hayne and Amellia Bonnici, the mother of his daughter, and appeared calm as he brushed past a throng of waiting media outside.
The jury heard the ex-Parramatta Eels fullback was in town on grand final weekend 2018 to attend then outgoing West Tigers player Kevin Naiqama's buck's party.
Former NRL star Jarryd Hayne arrives at Newcastle court for the first day of his sexual assault trial. He has pleaded not guilty pic.twitter.com/fYdAhJA8xm— Heath Parkes-Hupton (@heath_parkes) November 22, 2020
Among those at the bucks party were several other professional rugby league players including Mr Naiqama's brother Wes, Kane Evans, Vitale Junior Roqica, Sauaso "Jesse" Sue and Apisai Koroisau.
At the trial's outset, Judge Peter Whitford SC told the jury they needed to ignore Mr Hayne's celebrity, and any previous opinions about him, and base their decision solely on the evidence before the court.
"Can I urge you to keep an open mind and listen to all of the evidence … before you make up your minds about the two charges on the indictment," he said.
Crown prosecutor Brian Costello and Mr Hayne's barrister, Phillip Boulten SC, would give their opening addresses after the lunch break.
The trial continues.
WHO IS JARRYD HAYNE?
The son of Fijian NRL player Manoa Thompson, Hayne was raised by his mother, Jodie, in a housing commission in western Sydney.
A true rags-to-riches tale, Hayne followed in his absent father's footsteps by making his NRL debut at age 18. He was a sensation for the Parramatta Eels, winning the Dally M Medal as the league's best player at age 21 while leading his team to the 2009 grand final.
The once-in-a-generation fullback was also a star at State of Origin level and was named NSW's best player as it ended an eight-year drought in 2014, the same year he won his second Dally M.
The following year he stunned the competition by announcing he'd pursue an NFL career in America, where he defied the odds by earning a roster spot with the San Francisco 49ers after a sparkling pre-season and went on to appear in eight games as a running back and punt returner.
The successful transition in the US took Hayne's fame to unprecedented heights but at age 27 it also marked the end of his time as an elite sports performer.
He left the NFL after the 49ers changed coaches and turned his hand to a third code, Rugby Sevens. After debuting for the world-beating Fijian side he failed to make the cut for the island nation's Olympic squad, which went on to win a gold medal.
Hayne returned to the NRL in 2016 on the richest deal in the league's history when the Gold Coast Titans paid him a reported $1.2 million a season. But he never recaptured his previous form and after forcing his way back to Parramatta he was out of contract at the end of the 2018 season when he was charged by police.
Originally published as Hayne at party before alleged sex assault