Jarryd Hayne responds after guilty verdict in third sexual assault trial

The former NRL player is maintaining his innocence after being found guilty of two charges.

Jarryd Hayne leaving court.
Former NRL star Jarryd Hayne has been found guilty of rape after a third trial. (AAP)

Former NRL star Jarryd Hayne is maintaining his innocence after being found guilty of rape for the second time in three trials. Hayne, 35, pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and faced a two-week retrial in the NSW District Court in March.

It was alleged he performed non-consensual sex acts on a woman for about 30 seconds, ending when she began to bleed. The jury of six men and six women returned a guilty verdict on both counts on Tuesday afternoon, more than a week after they retired to deliberate.

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Hayne attended the Newcastle home the victim shared with her mother on NRL grand final night in 2018, when he was in town for a bucks' weekend, paying for a taxi to wait outside before driving him to Sydney. He was charged in November that year, after the allegation reached the NRL integrity unit.

Hayne was a star rugby league player, playing most of his 214 NRL games for the Parramatta Eels as well as representing Australia and Fiji. He played 23 State of Origin matches, including NSW's 2014 drought-breaking series win, the same year he won his second Dally M medal.

An attempt at gridiron with the US NFL's San Francisco 49ers was followed by a Rugby Sevens stint with Fiji before a return to league. He was off contract when charged.

Hayne hugged his wife and his mother, seated with other supporters in the public gallery, as the judge left the bench, adjourning the matter to Thursday after receiving the guilty verdict. His bail has been continued pending a detention application from prosecutors.

Earlier on Tuesday, the jury returned a note informing the judge it had come closer to a verdict after being told to "persevere" when revealing it had not reached a unanimous decision on Monday. The note asked for clarification on whether ignorance of the law was "sufficient defence".

"The short answer is no," the judge told jurors, explaining there was no evidence before them there had been any ignorance of the law, just differing accounts of what happened. The Crown's case was there was never consent to any sexual activity, while Hayne gave evidence the acts he performed were consented to.

"You have to be satisfied of the crown case and be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt," the judge said as the jury was sent to continue deliberating. The verdict was returned within an hour.

Jarryd Hayne, pictured here speaking to reporters after leaving court with his wife.
Jarryd Hayne speaks to reporters after leaving court with his wife. Image: AAP

Jarryd Hayne responds after guilty verdict

Outside court, Hayne maintained his innocence "100 per cent". "I never lied to the police. I never deleted evidence. I never hid witnesses," he said.

He indicated an appeal could follow. The jury in his first trial was discharged after failing to reach verdict in 2020.

A second trial jury in 2021 found him guilty of the two sexual assaults and he was sentenced to more than five years' jail. But he was released from prison after having the convictions overturned on appeal before a third trial was ordered.

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