First pictures of Hayne leaving prison

Jarryd Hayne’s convictions have been quashed. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Simon Bullard

NRL star Jarryd Hayne has been seen walking out of prison for the first time in more than a year after his rape convictions were overturned on appeal.

Wearing a white shirt and chinos, Mr Hayne approached a silver utility vehicle outside Mary Wade Correctional Centre in Sydney’s west just before 5pm Wednesday, hours after he learned the outcome of of his appeal.

He has been ordered to live with his wife, surrender a surety of $20,000, and not contact the complainant as he waits to learn if he will face a fourth trial over rape allegations.

The two-time Dally M winner was found guilty of sexually assaulting the woman at her Newcastle home in the NSW Hunter Region following the high-profile trial in the District Court last year.

Jarryd Hayne leaving the Mary Wade Correctional Centre where he spent more than a year behind bars for his rape conviction, which has now been quashed. Picture: NewsWire / John Appleyard
Hayne will wait to learn whether he will face a fourth trial. Picture: NewsWire / John Appleyard

It was the third time Mr Hayne had faced a trial over the same incident and the second time he was found guilty.

Mr Hayne claims the sexual encounter was entirely consensual, but the jury accepted the woman’s version of events that she repeatedly said “no” and “stop” and was left bleeding after he pulled her pants off.

The 36-year-old has continued to maintain his innocence and quickly launched an appeal against his conviction in the NSW Supreme Court.

On Wednesday, the former Parramatta Eels fullback appeared via audiovisual link in the Court of Criminal Appeal wearing a prison-issued green tracksuit and a weary expression.

Justice Stephen Rothman delivered the majority decision which upheld his appeal on two of the three grounds argued by Mr Hayne’s defence team.

The appeal relied on three grounds – the first being the verdicts were unreasonable and not supported by evidence at trial, secondly, the trial judge erred in ruling the complainant did not have to give evidence about a 2021 interaction with two people she messaged on the day of the alleged sexual assault in 2018, and lastly, that the judge’s ruling resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

Hayne leaving court. Photo: Aymon Bertah
Hayne leaving court. Photo: Aymon Bertah
Hayne did not speak to media when leaving. Picture: NewsWire / John Appleyard

The Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed the first ground but granted the second and third grounds.

“The court will quash the convictions and order a new trial,” Justice Rothman determined.

“Whether there is a new trial is a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

The appeal was heard by Justice Anthony Meagher, Justice Stephen Rothman and Justice Deborah Sweeney, who were divided 2-1 on the decision.

In her reasons, Justice Sweeney concluded the appeal should be fully upheld because it was “not clear, to the requisite standard, that (the woman) did not consent to the two sexual acts ... or, if she did not, that (Mr Hayne) knew that.”

“On my own assessment of the quality and sufficiency of the evidence, I have a reasonable doubt that the applicant committed the offences charged,” she determined.

“I am of the view there is a significant possibility that an innocent person has been convicted.”

By contrast, Justice Meagher found the appeal should have been dismissed on all grounds because the jury could have been “satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt” of Mr Hayne’s guilt.

Justice Rothman proposed to dismiss the argument the verdict was unreasonable, but uphold the related grounds relating to the judge’s direction - the position adopted by the panel.

Jarryd Hayne, pictured with wife Amellia Bonnici, was found guilty of sexual assault last year. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Simon Bullard
Mr Hayne has been serving a prison sentence for the sexual assault. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Vincent de Gouw
Mr Hayne has been serving a prison sentence for the sexual assault. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Vincent de Gouw

In a statement, the DPP said it will consider the Court of Criminal Appeal judgement.

“Any decision about a possible retrial will be made in accordance with the Prosecution Guidelines,” the statement said.

If the DPP decide to proceed, it will be the fourth trial Mr Hayne has faced over the rape allegations.

“I am of the view that in the circumstances of the history of this matter, to put the applicant on trial for a fourth time would not be in the interests of justice,” Justice Sweeney declared in her reasons.

Justice Rothman noted it was “unlikely” a new trial would be held before the expiry of Mr Hayne’s non-parole period, which he has mostly served.

The former NRL star kept an impassive face and showed no reaction to the news that he had won his appeal.

He had been sentenced to four years and nine months behind bars for the charges of digital and oral sexual assault but he will be released from prison on Wednesday afternoon.

He was required to forfeit a surety of $20,000 and ordered to be of good behaviour and not stalk, harass, assault or contact the complainant or witness.

Jarryd Hayne’s lawyer says her client is happy to be returning to his family after his rape convictions were quashed in the Court of Criminal Appeal on June 12, 2024.

Outside court, his lawyer Lauren MacDougall said the NRL star is “really, really looking forward to getting home to his family.”

During the appeal in April, his lawyers argued that messages his alleged victim had deleted from her phone were key to acquitting the former star.

Tim Game SC, representing Mr Hayne, told the court that his client should be acquitted rather than face a fourth trial.

He argued the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had concealed text and social media messages which showed she was consenting.

The messages relate to a Snapchat conversation she had with a friend, whom she had never met in person.

The complainant messaged the friend before and after meeting Mr Hayne, where she told her about the sexual encounter but did not say it was non-consensual.

Mr Game argued concealment was “the same as lying or deception”, saying the woman hid evidence on “a large scale”.

He told the court concealment was “front and centre” of the defence case but a miscarriage of justice arose when the District Court Judge, Judge Graham Turnbull SC, ruled the defence could not cross-examine the woman on her deleted or undisclosed messages with a man and woman before and after the incident.

Mr Hayne’s lawyers sought to rely on the messages to suggest the victim “deliberately concealed her communications because … they did not support her version of what occurred and then (possibly) tried to influence in respect of her evidence”.

The court was told the woman had listened to Mr Hayne’s prior appeal in 2021 and contacted the social media friend on Facebook the same day.

“I hope this was worth it for you,” the message read.

“The pain I have endured from all of this is unfathomable. I have never lied. I have never done anything to you and for you to write something to JH about me having him over does not excuse what happened.

“I did not tell you because it was disgusting and confusing for me. If he gets out you can thank yourself. This has been the hardest, most painful thing I’ve ever been through and you can thank yourself for helping a guilty person.”

He has been acquitted of the charges. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Simon Bullard Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Swift

Mr Hayne’s lawyers argue the messages were relevant to the complainant’s credibility, demonstrating her contacting a witness in a “hostile manner”.

They argued the woman “potentially” had a view to influencing the witness account.

Mr Game, during the appeal, said the concealment showed she wanted to get rid of evidence that was “hurtful” but also because it showed she was “actually consenting”.

He told the court: “It’s evidence of dishonesty, it also goes to her credibility in a general sense.”

But Crown prosecutor Georgina Wright SC told the court the complainant did not tell the woman about the assault because they didn’t know each other well.

“She had never met her and said she did not know her at all well,” Ms Wright said.

Ms Wright told the court the complainant had told close friends and family of the assault in the hours after the incident.

But she argued the Facebook message to the social media friend was “consistent with an expression of frustration with the legal process”, denying claims the complainant was concealing messages from police.

Mr Hayne must reside with his wife under strict bail conditions imposed by the NSW Supreme Court. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Simon Bullard

Justices Sweeney and Rothman concluded the District Court Judge erred in refusing to let the woman be cross examined about why she had failed to disclose the messages.

Justice Rothman agreed with Justice Sweeney that it was for the jury to decide whether they believed the woman, but they had been “deprived of evidence” which had significant bearing for their assessment of her honesty.

“By not permitting counsel to cross-examine the complainant on those topics and then telling the jury that in considering the submission that the complainant had lied about matters including deletions from her phone, they should consider whether that was ‘fairly put’, this created an unfairness in the accused’s trial,” Justice Sweeney said.

“The combined effect of those circumstances was to cause a miscarriage of justice in the trial.”

Mr Hayne will return to court next month to learn whether the DPP will pursue a fourth trial over the allegations.