Texts key in de Belin cop’s perjury charge

Charges were dropped against Jack de Belin after he had pleaded not guilty. Picture: NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

A former cop charged with allegedly lying to a court about viewing NRL star Jack de Belin’s SMS messages has had bail conditions imposed as a magistrate labelled the charges “very serious”.

Former Detective Senior Constable Shawn Adams has been charged with perjury relating to Mr de Belin’s legal proceedings in the Wollongong District Court in February 2020 and the Dragons forward’s unsuccessful attempt to have the charges thrown out.

The Director of Public Prosecutions in mid-2021 dropped sexual assault charges against Mr de Belin and his co-accused Callan Sinclair following two District Court trials that ended in hung juries.

Both consistently maintained they were innocent of all allegations and had pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Charges were dropped against Jack de Belin after he had pleaded not guilty. Picture: NewsWire / Christian Gilles
Sydney Court
Callan Sinclair denied the allegations. Picture: NewsWire / Damian Shaw

They were found not guilty of one count of sexual assault following their second trial, but the jury could not come to a decision on the remaining charges before the DPP chose not to pursue a third trial.

But before their first trial commenced, Mr Delin’s lawyers in February 2020 applied for a stay of proceedings, which would have prevented the matter from ever going to trial.

The application was ultimately dismissed by Judge Andrew Haesler.

According to court documents, Mr Adams’ charge relates to his testimony about his review of Mr de Belin’s SMS messages, after police seized the footy star’s Nokia mobile phone as part of the investigation.

The messages were exchanged between Mr de Belin and a contact in his phone labelled “Craig lawyer”.

The court previously heard that “Craig lawyer” was Craig Osborne, a Dragons board member who also represented Mr de Belin during the proceedings.

Downing Centre
Mr de Belin faced two trials before prosecutors dropped the charges. Picture: NewsWire / Christian Gilles.

Mr Adams has been charged with perjury after telling the court that he believed that the SMS messages related to “Dragons Football Club business alone”, according to the court documents.

When applying for the stay of proceedings, Mr de Belin’s lawyers argued that the viewing of the legally privileged material had the potential to infect the trial.

In 2021 the NSW Police’s Professional Standards Command began an investigation under the umbrella of Strike Force Ephemeris to investigate the conduct of officers in the case.

NSW Police said that after receiving advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Adams was charged with giving false evidence under oath amounting to perjury.

Mr Adams, 48, was not in Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday as the matter was mentioned for the first time.

The police prosecution asked for bail conditions to be imposed because of the risk of flight.

“These are very serious charges and to be on the safe side there should be something to mitigate the risk of flight,” ️Magistrate Claire Girotto said.

Ms Girotto imposed bail conditions, including that Mr Adams only live at an address at Wilton, southwest of Sydney, and he not approach a point of departure.

He will return to court in August.