Jack de Belin rape charges to be dropped

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NRL star Jack de Belin will not be tried on rape charges for a third time, with prosecutors set to withdraw the case on Friday.

The St George Illawarra forward, 30, and co-accused Callan Sinclair, 24, faced joint sexual assault trials in Wollongong in November and in Sydney in April.

"In circumstances where two juries were unable to agree upon a verdict, the Director of Public Prosecutions has determined not to proceed to a third trial against Jack de Belin and Callan Sinclair," a spokesperson for the Office of the DPP said on Thursday.

Lawyers for the accused men were earlier advised of the decision.

All charges against the men will be formally withdrawn in the Sydney District Court on Friday.

Once that occurs, the NRL will register de Belin's latest contract, opening the door to his return to the field.

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.

De Belin faced a maximum of life in prison if convicted on one of the charges against him - aggravated sexual assault in company.

The footballer has not played since the charges were laid in December 2018 under the NRL's controversial no-fault stand-down policy.

In revoking his ban, the NRL on Thursday said the rule "worked as it should".

"We make no apology for taking the hardest stance in Australian sport where our players are charged with serious criminal offences. We cannot remain indifferent to such charges, particularly those against women,'' NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said.

"The 'no-fault stand down' rule upholds the values of the game, protects the game's commercial relationships and provides safeguards for the very small number of players who find themselves the subject of serious criminal charges."

When charged, de Belin was on a contract worth almost $600,000 a year.

After it expired at the end of 2020, the 30-year-old signed a new four-year deal with the Dragons, after also fielding interest from the Warriors.

The contract is expected to be registered by the NRL on Friday.