Rape charges against NRL footballer Jack de Belin have been formally dropped as a judge demanded answers on how the news leaked to the press.
Multiple parties on Thursday confirmed the St George Illawarra forward and his friend, Callan Sinclair, would not face a third trial over rape allegations.
The NRL later confirmed de Belin, who long denied the allegations, would be able to return to the competition.
"I want to know how it is that the decision taken (by the Director of Public Prosecutions) seems to have come to the attention of the press before the court," Judge Dina Yehia said on Friday.
"Court proceedings are not run in the media."
The Crown said it was "in furious agreement" with the judge.
Craig Everson noted a Sydney sports reporter published a story about charges being dropped 20 minutes after the DPP notified de Belin's lawyers on Thursday.
In a statement to media hours later, a DPP spokesperson confirmed proceedings would be dropped.
Before formally acknowledging the DPP's decision on Friday, Judge Yehia said the leaking was "a discourtesy" to the court.
"I won't have a further inquiry as I have a busy list today," she said.
"But I can tell you I'm not pleased about the way in which this information was leaked to the press."
De Belin's solicitor Robert Foster said his client had been down a long road since being charged in December 2018.
"No one had any idea how long a road it would be," he told reporters outside court.
"The indictment is now marked dispensed and proceedings are now at an end.
"Jack de Belin is very relieved and is now looking forward to getting back to football."
De Belin and Sinclair had pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting a then-19-year-old woman in a North Wollongong unit in December 2018, saying they had a consensual threesome.
The woman alleged she was attacked by de Belin and then cried as the men took turns assaulting her.
A Wollongong jury was discharged less than two days into its deliberations in November, having told the court it could "absolutely not" reach a verdict on any charges.
A Sydney jury, hearing the case in April and May, spent more than a week before it too became stuck on nearly all charges.
It acquitted de Belin and Sinclair of one charge each, relating to an incident de Belin had testified was accidental.
But no verdict was returned for the four other charges against each man.