Ex-NRL star Hayne's rape trial delayed

Mark Russell
·2-min read

The sexual assault trial of former NSW rugby league star Jarryd Hayne - accused of being at a bucks' party weekend in Newcastle when he raped a woman at her home - has been delayed.

Judge Peter Whitford sent the Newcastle District Court jury home early on Monday afternoon because of "quite an important and difficult legal question I'm dealing with".

The prosecution and defence had been due to give their opening addresses outlining their respective cases before the judge sent the jury home just after 3pm.

Crown prosecutor Brian Costello had earlier told the jury panel Hayne had recklessly injured the woman when committing two sex acts on her without her consent.

Hayne, 32, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of aggravated sexual assault inflicting actual bodily harm on a 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, Marcelo Montoya, Sauaso "Jesse" Sue and Apisai Koroisau.

Mr Costello said the trial was expected to take at least two weeks but could stretch into a third.

Judge Whitford warned the jury panel it was an offence to disclose any information that could identify the alleged victim.

In his later directions to the selected jury, the judge said they might be aware Hayne had quite a high public profile over a number of years but they had to ignore what they knew about him and his circumstances.

Judge Whitford said any feelings the jurors might have about Hayne had to be put to one side so they reached a verdict based on a rational assessment of the evidence given in court.

The jurors were urged not to research the case on the internet, ignore any media reports, keep an open mind and decide the matter solely on the evidence given in court.

The trial resumes on Tuesday.