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Former NRL star Hayne learns his fate in fight for rape conviction

Disgraced NRL star Jarryd Hayne’s latest attempt to overturn a rape conviction will be decided after his lawyers accused the victim of deliberately withholding evidence.

The NSW Court of Criminal Appeal will deliver a verdict on Wednesday on whether Hayne was rightly jailed on charges of raping the woman on the night of the 2018 NRL Grand Final.

The 36-year-old spent the last year behind bars after a jury found him guilty of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent in April 2023, after an earlier guilty verdict was overturned on appeal.

Three separate criminal trials have heard that the woman, whose identity cannot be verified for legal reasons, changed her mind about having sex with Hayne after she realized there was a taxi waiting outside her house.

Wife Amellia Bonnici and Jarryd Hayne (file image)Wife Amellia Bonnici and Jarryd Hayne (file image)

Jarryd Hayne has spent the last year in prison following his third trial. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)

Hayne’s lawyer, Tim Game SC, said at an appeal hearing in April that the woman had deleted messages between herself and Hayne which showed she had initially shown sexual interest in him.

He argued that this and other messages deleted from the woman’s phone amounted to a deliberate concealment of the facts.

“Our case involves a large-scale concealment of evidence,” Game said.

“We say, of course, that concealing something is the same as lying or deceiving.”

Georgina Wright SC, representing the Crown, said at the same hearing that the woman had stated she regularly deleted text messages and had not been selective in choosing which messages to delete in order to “curate the narrative”.

Haynes’ defense team also argued that the woman should have been cross-examined to learn why she allegedly told police, “If this news gets out, I’m screwed and he’s going to get away with it.”

Judge Graham Turnbull, who presided over Haynes’ third trial, rejected requests to cross-examine the woman on the statement, saying it had “almost negligible weight”.

In an appeal, Haynes’s lawyers argued that Judge Turnbull erred in ruling that the plaintiff should not be compelled to provide further evidence because doing so would have resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

They further argued that the convictions were inappropriate and not supported by evidence.

Haynes’ conviction followed a hung jury at his first trial in 2020 and a previous appeal that overturned the guilty verdict from his second trial in 2021.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse Victim Support and Reparation Service 1800 211 028