'We are on here': Jack de Belin takes the stand in rape trial

Australian Associated Press
·4-min read
St. George Illawarra Dragons rugby league player Jack de Belin (centre).
St. George Illawarra Dragons rugby league player Jack de Belin (centre). (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

NRL and Origin star Jack de Belin has told a jury the woman accusing him of rape was "very attention-seeking" on the dancefloor and flirting with his mate before he mentioned "we're on here".

Entering the witness box in the third week of the high-profile trial, the St George Illawarra forward said he met the complainant, then 19, on the dancefloor of Wollongong bar Mr Crown on December 8, 2018.

"She was kind of hanging around the group and then she gave me a cuddle," de Belin said.

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"I said something along the lines of 'aren't you a little cutie?' She just giggled back.

"She was very attention-seeking and her dancing was dramatic and over the top."

The 29-year-old and Shell Cove man Callan Sinclair, 23, have pleaded not guilty in Wollongong District Court to the aggravated sexual assault of the woman later that night in a North Wollongong unit.

After noticing the woman flirting with Sinclair on the dancefloor, de Belin pulled him aside and said words to the effect of "I think we're on here".

He then approached the woman and said: "you, me and Cal?"

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 09:  Jack De Belin of the Dragons passes during the NRL Elimination Final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 09: Jack De Belin of the Dragons passes during the NRL Elimination Final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

When she pointed out he had a girlfriend, de Belin said he replied: "I can keep a secret if you can".

"At that point, she winked and smiled," he told the jury.

Earlier in the trial, the woman told the jury sex was never raised with her during the night and she only entered the unit to use the bathroom.

While inside, she says the NRL star undressed her and forced himself on top of her as she said "no".

He then allegedly made way for Sinclair and moved his groin to the then-teenager's head, before the men alternated positions and cheered each other on.

"I just had tears out of my eyes the whole time," she said of the alleged early-morning assault on December 9.

De Belin takes the stand

Conversely, de Belin on Thursday said he asked the woman if she wanted to come back to the unit and she replied "yes".

When they got there, scaling a fence to get in, he said he took a shower and she used the bathroom.

When the footballer finished his shower, he re-entered the bedroom and found the woman and Sinclair kissing.

"I proceeded to start kissing (her) as well," he said.

The men were "complimenting her on her breasts" before she took her top off, the jury heard.

Shortly thereafter, de Belin began performing oral sex and recalled her uttering "yes".

"It was just natural sex that she was enjoying," he said.

The trio changed positions several times during the sexual encounter, de Belin said.

Afterwards, the footballer said he overheard the woman again mentioning his girlfriend.

"I said 'don't stress it, babe, we're on the rocks anyway, it's complicated'," de Belin told the jury.

The trio later caught an Uber back to town.

De Belin said at no point did he believe the woman was not consenting and was "just in complete and utter shock" when he learned of the allegations later that day.

The jury heard he remains with his long-term partner Alyce.

De Belin estimated his intoxication on the dancefloor at Mr Crown was "6 or 7" out of 10, having had about 11 drinks over as many hours.

The former Cootamundra paperboy detailed attending a Campbelltown boarding school on a mathematics scholarship before developing a particular liking for rugby league.

He broke into the St George team in 2011 before being drafted into NSW State of Origin camp in 2017 and playing all three games against the Maroons in 2018, the jury heard.

The court was told de Belin hasn't played first-grade rugby league in the past two seasons due to the allegations.

De Belin's evidence continues.