Jarryd Hayne was among numerous NRL players who fronted court in 2020. The jury was discharged in Hayne’s sexual assault trial after being unable to reach a verdict. Picture: Heath Parkes-Hupton
Jarryd Hayne was among numerous NRL players who fronted court in 2020. The jury was discharged in Hayne’s sexual assault trial after being unable to reach a verdict. Picture: Heath Parkes-Hupton

Court cases that rocked the NRL

Rugby league has never been a stranger to controversy and 2020 proved no different with a number of present and former stars appearing in court.

The trials of Jack de Belin and Jarryd Hayne dominated headlines for weeks on end before they both ended in hung juries.

Many more faced legal troubles. Here's a look at the NRL figures who appeared in court last year.

Jack de Belin will face a retrial in Sydney in 2021. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Simon Bullard.
Jack de Belin will face a retrial in Sydney in 2021. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Simon Bullard.

JACK DE BELIN

The St George Illawarra and NSW back-rower will face a second sexual assault trial in April as he fights to clear his name and resume his stalled NRL career.

Mr De Belin and co-accused Callan Sinclair each pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated sexual assault before the jury in the Wollongong District Court failed to reach a verdict.

At trial, Mr de Belin and Mr Sinclair both argued that their encounter with a 19-year-old woman in a North Wollongong unit, which belonged to Mr de Belin's cousin, was consensual.

Mr de Belin's contract with the Dragons expired on November 1 last year after he sat out the last two seasons.

He has signed a deal under which he will be paid a reduced rate to train with the club while he awaits trial.

He was the first player stood down under the NRL's "no-fault" stand down rule and was paid $595,000 a season while sidelined in 2019 and 2020.

De Belin's retrial will be held in Sydney after the first was held in Wollongong.

Jarryd Hayne leaves Newcastle Court after the jury was discharged from his sexual assault trial after it was unable to reach a verdict. Picture: Heath Parkes-Hupton
Jarryd Hayne leaves Newcastle Court after the jury was discharged from his sexual assault trial after it was unable to reach a verdict. Picture: Heath Parkes-Hupton

JARRYD HAYNE

Like Mr de Belin, the ex-Parramatta star's sexual assault trial ended in a deadlocked jury and his second trial will be moved to Sydney.

Mr Hayne declared "I told the truth" after the jury failed to reach a verdict on the two counts of aggravated sexual intercourse without consent recklessly inflicting actual bodily harm he had pleaded not guilty to.

The two-time Dally M medallist has been accused of performing sexual acts on the woman without her consent and causing two lacerations to her vagina that bled extensively.

During the trial the court heard Mr Hayne departed a former teammate's buck's party and stopped at the woman's home in outer Newcastle on the way back to Sydney in September 2019.

Mr Hayne's retrial is scheduled to begin in the District Court in Sydney on March 8 having been moved from the Newcastle District Court.

Former NRL star Sam Burgess and his mum Julie Burgess leaving Moss Vale Local Court after a hearing over the dispute with his father-in-law Mitchell Hooke. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Former NRL star Sam Burgess and his mum Julie Burgess leaving Moss Vale Local Court after a hearing over the dispute with his father-in-law Mitchell Hooke. Picture: Jonathan Ng

SAM BURGESS

The ex-South Sydney skipper and English rugby union international will return to court in January to fight allegations that he intimidated and threatened his former father-in-law during a heated argument.

Mr Burgess has pleaded not guilty to one count of intimidation related to an alleged argument at Mitchell Hooke's Southern Highlands property in October, 2019.

He has also had an apprehended violence order taken out against him.

Mr Burgess, who retired at the end of the 2019 NRL season due to a chronic shoulder injury, has made counter claims against Mr Hooke and his ex-wife Phoebe Burgess, his lawyers telling Moss Vale Local Court the allegations are part of a concerted attempt to ruin his career and reputation.

Mr Burgess could give evidence when the case returns to Moss Vale Local Court in late January.

Curtis Scott was cleared after he fought allegations that he assaulted police in court. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Joel Carrett
Curtis Scott was cleared after he fought allegations that he assaulted police in court. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Joel Carrett

CURTIS SCOTT

At one point the Canberra Raiders outside back was threatened with being stood down under the NRL's disciplinary rules, before his name was cleared during a bombshell court appearance.

Mr Scott had five charges, including two counts of assaulting police, dropped after distressing bodycam footage of his arrest was played to the court.

He was found passed out underneath a tree following drunken Australia Day celebrations last year.

The footage showed officers unlawfully placing the Raiders centre under arrest while he was passed out, and tasering and pepper-spraying him while he was handcuffed.

Police body cam footage which cleared Curtis Scott. Picture: Supplied.
Police body cam footage which cleared Curtis Scott. Picture: Supplied.

Magistrate Jennifer Giles said Mr Scott would have been safer had he "wandered onto the roadway and been hit by a car".

Mr Scott was awarded $100,000 in legal costs and is seeking a six-figure civil settlement with NSW Police.

Dylan Walker as he leaves Manly local court. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw
Dylan Walker as he leaves Manly local court. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw

DYLAN WALKER

Walker faces two charges of common assault following an alleged confrontation with two men outside a northern beaches pizza restaurant.

The Manly five-eighth has pleaded not guilty to charges related to the alleged altercation outside the Little Italy Pizzeria at Narraweena on November 1.

NSW Police have alleged that after the 26-year-old left the restaurant, he attempted to enter a vehicle parked outside that belonged to a woman.

He is alleged to have become aggressive when confronted and assaulted two men before fleeing.

He has not been stood down because the charges do not automatically trigger the NRL's "no fault" rule, but NRL CEO Andrew Abdo could yet use his discretion to prevent him from playing during the legal proceedings.

Mr Walker will return to court next week.

Tristan Sailor leaves Sutherland court with his parents including his father Wendell. Picture: Eliza Barr.
Tristan Sailor leaves Sutherland court with his parents including his father Wendell. Picture: Eliza Barr.

TRISTAN SAILOR

The 22-year-old's career is at a crossroads after he was charged with serious sexual assault allegations in October.

Mr Sailor, the son of cross-code star and NRL legend Wendell Sailor, was off-contract with St George Illawarra when he was charged with aggravated sexual assault inflicting actual bodily harm.

Police have alleged in the Wollongong Local Court that traces of the sedative Doxylamine were in the alleged victim's bloodstream after she was found unresponsive in her southern Sydney home.

The prosecution has described Mr Sailor's alleged actions as "predatory and planned" and accused him of administering the drug to the woman.

Mr Sailor has denied the allegations and has stated that any sexual intercourse was consensual.

He will return to court in late January.

Latrell Mitchell arrives at Taree Local Court. Picture: AAP Image/Nathan Edwards.
Latrell Mitchell arrives at Taree Local Court. Picture: AAP Image/Nathan Edwards.

LATRELL MITCHELL AND JOSH ADDO-CARR

Souths fullback Mitchell avoided a conviction when he was sentenced for a minor gun offence related to a camping trip in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in April.

He pleaded guilty to giving a firearm to an unauthorised person and was given a conditional release order.

Mitchell and NSW teammate Josh Addo-Carr were both fined $1000 by NSW Police for social distancing breaches over the trip with a group of men to Mitchell's property on the NSW Mid North Coast.

NSW's Josh Addo-Carr celebrates with Blues teammates during last year’s State of Origin series. Picture. Phil Hillyard
NSW's Josh Addo-Carr celebrates with Blues teammates during last year’s State of Origin series. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Melbourne winger Addo-Carr has pleaded guilty to the unauthorised use of a firearm and will appear in court in March.

The pair were also fined $50,000 each by the NRL, with 60 per cent of the penalties suspended.

Former Newcastle Knights player Jarrod Mullen was sentenced to 300 hours community service for drug supply. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins.
Former Newcastle Knights player Jarrod Mullen was sentenced to 300 hours community service for drug supply. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins.

JARROD MULLEN

The former Newcastle Knights halfback was sentenced to 300 hours of community service after he was arrested when police smashed a drug supply ring in Newcastle.

He pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine after he was caught with 39 grams of the drug.

Tyrone May narrowly escaped being sent to jail. Picture: AAP Image/Peter Rae.
Tyrone May narrowly escaped being sent to jail. Picture: AAP Image/Peter Rae.

TYRONE MAY

In January last year May narrowly avoided jail over his part in a sex tape scandal before going on to play in Penrith's grand final loss to Melbourne.

He pleaded guilty to four counts of intentionally recording an intimate image without consent after he filmed two different women without their knowledge.

He had sex with the first woman at a Coffs Harbour hotel. The second incident occurred at an apartment in Kingswood in Sydney's west several months later.

He was sentenced to 300 hours of community services and a three-year community corrections order.

Magistrate Robyn Denes described the offences as "reprehensible" and said May was "on the cusp of a custodial sentence".

Josh Reynolds had domestic violence charges dropped after details of his former partner’s past were revealed. Picture: AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi.
Josh Reynolds had domestic violence charges dropped after details of his former partner’s past were revealed. Picture: AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi.

JOSH REYNOLDS

The ex-Wests Tigers utility had his name dragged through the mud for months before a domestic violence charge against him were ultimately dropped in February 2020.

Reynolds, who has departed the NRL to continue his career in the English Super League, was accused grabbing his former partner Arabella del Busso on the arm during an argument

NSW Police dropped the charge after the media revealed that Ms del Busso's real name was Donna Preusker and she was accused by Mr Reynolds' lawyers of faking multiple pregnancies.

 

 

NRL

The NRL has attempted in recent years to improve its off-field image, implementing the "no fault" stand down rule.

The policy, which allows the game to stand down players charged with a serious criminal offence to be suspended from playing, survived a Federal Court challenge from Mr de Belin.

They also refused to bend the rule when it became apparent Mr de Belin would be sidelined for part of the 2021 season while he awaits a retrial.

Originally published as Court cases that rocked the NRL


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