Rugby league: Former NRL star Jarryd Hayne jailed for minimum three years, eight months for sexual assault

  • 06/05/2021

Former NRL star Jarryd Hayne has been handed a minimum jail sentence of three years, eight months after being found guilty of sexual assault.

Hayne could spend up to five years and nine months behind bars for the rape of a woman on the night of the 2018 NRL Grand Final.

The 33-year-old was found guilty in March for the sexual assault of a 26-year-old New South Wales woman at her Newcastle home in September 2018.

During sentencing, Judge Helen Syme told the court: "I do not accept that he was not aware that she was attempting to push him away and trying to physically resist him.

"It was very clear she said 'no' several times. I have found the offender was fully aware that the victim was not consenting and went ahead anyway.

"His decision to do so increases the objective seriousness."

Earlier Hayne’s rape victim spoke in court about how the case had taken its toll emotionally, saying the assault left her feeling “dirty and violated”.

"People talk about my vagina, my choices and like to give their opinions based on what they’ve heard, and it is the most helpless feeling," said the woman, who cannot be identified. 

Hayne had several supporters and family waiting to protect him from a horde of media awaiting his arrival outside the court house.

Hayne intends to appeal the guilty verdict.

"I’d rather go to jail knowing I spoke the truth than be a free man living a lie."

Earlier on Thursday, the victim detailed how the assault had changed her life.

“I know nothing will fully explain my feelings inside, but I can only try or I might regret it the rest of my life," she told the court.

"Working out how to turn my emotions, experience and thoughts into words, to explain how this has impacted my life, is the hardest thing I’ve had to do.

"I have spent countless hours crying, the feeling of violation and feeling dirty doesn’t go away.

"I have nightmares and flashbacks of his face looking right through me. Sometimes I can’t get out of bed."

Hayne revealed to the court he had agreed on a AU$500,000, one-year contract with St George Dragons, which was to be signed the day he was charged by police.

He continues to maintain his innocence.

The ex-San Francisco 49ers running back was found guilty of performing oral and digital sex on the victim in the bedroom of her residence, while a taxi waited outside to take him back home to Sydney.

Hayne had been in Newcastle for a two-day stag party for a former teammate and had organised to pay a cab driver AU$550 to take him back to Sydney.

When she heard the taxi beeping outside her bedroom window, the woman said she realised there was "no way" she was going to consent to sex.

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