Former Australian NRL star Jarryd Hayne and his girlfriend have arrived at court as he prepares to defend rape charges on the first day of his trial.
The 32-year-old and his girlfriend Amellia Bonnici were dropped off by car directly outside court doors on Monday morning and swiftly entered the building passed a throng of waiting media.
Crown prosecutor Brian Costello told a jury panel on Monday that Hayne recklessly injured a woman when committing two sex acts on her without her consent at a buck’s party weekend.
His trial over the September 2018 incident, which resulted in two counts of aggravated sexual assault occasioning actual bodily harm, will be played out in Newcastle District Court after Hayne pleaded not guilty.
Hayne and his partner, Amellia Bonnici, arrive at Newcastle District Court on Monday (pictured)
His trial over the September 2018 incident which resulted in two counts of aggravated sexual assault occasioning actual bodily harm is set to be played out in Newcastle District Court after Hayne plead not guilty
Ms Bonnici, 29, began a relationship with Hayne in 2016 and has supported him throughout the investigation and charges.
The pair share an almost two-year-old daughter named Beliviah Ivy Hayne after Ms Bonnici got pregnant two weeks into their relationship.
Hayne has pleaded not guilty to two charges of aggravated sexual assault involving the woman in NSW’s Hunter Valley on September 30, 2018 – the night of the NRL grand final.
In a brief outline of the case to the jury panel before the jury was empanelled, Mr Costello said Hayne had committed the two sex acts ‘essentially at the same time’ in the woman’s bedroom before injuring her.
The prosecutor said Hayne had been in Newcastle for rugby league associate Kevin Naiqama’s bucks’ party over the grand final weekend.
Other people at the bucks’ party included Waisale ‘Wes’ Naiqama, Kane Evans, Vitale Junior Roqica, Sauaso ‘Jesse’ Sue and Apisai Koroisau.
Ms Bonnici, 29, began a relationship with Hayne in 2016 and has supported him throughout the investigation and charges
Mr Costello said the trial was expected to take at least two weeks but could stretch into a third.
Trial Judge Peter Whitford warned the jury panel it was an offence to disclose any information which could identify the alleged victim.
Police first investigated Hayne after complaints were made by a 26-year-old woman on September 30, 2018, that he raped her.
Hayne is of Fijian heritage on his father’s side but was raised by his mother in a western Sydney housing commission flat.
The former Parramatta Eels star played his debut first grade game for the NRL aged just 18 and was awarded the Dally M medal two years later as the best player in the competition.
Court documents state Hayne had sex with a 26-year-old woman without her consent and ‘recklessly inflicted actual bodily harm’
He briefly transitioned to the NFL in the US in 2015 where he played eight games for the San Francisco 49ers before returning to Australia.
His 2016 NRL contract with the Gold Coast Titans made him the highest paid NRL player ever at $1.2million a season but he failed to find his previous form.
After moving back to briefly play for Parramatta, by 2018, when he was charged, he was off-contract.
Earlier this year, the court case was postponed because Hayne wanted a jury to decide his fate.
Newcastle District Court Judge Roy Ellis previously indicated the May 4 trial would have been able to proceed if it was before a judge alone in line with coronavirus restrictions, but Hayne wanted a jury trial.
Defence barrister Phillip Boulten SC previously told the court via video link from Sydney that Hayne’s legal team had considered a judge-alone trial ‘very carefully’, but the former NRL player indicated he would prefer a jury trial.
Mr Boulten said the Director of Public Prosecutions would have opposed a judge-alone trial anyway.
Judge Ellis in May agreed to a defence request to vary Hayne’s bail so he no longer has to report to police once a week.
Hayne has been on bail since his arrest and was allowed to travel to Western Australia in July 2019 to attend a six-month missionary course at the Youth With A Mission centre
Court documents state Hayne had sex with the woman without her consent and ‘recklessly inflicted actual bodily harm’.
He has been on bail since his arrest and was allowed to travel to Western Australia in July 2019 to attend a six-month missionary course at the Youth With A Mission centre.
The court previously heard Hayne planned to stay in a dormitory-style accommodation near the evangelical Christian centre’s training campus with other men.