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News

Jury retires to consider verdict in De Belin case

Jury retires to consider verdict in De Belin case

A jury has retired to consider its verdicts in the trial of NRL footballer Jack de Belin, who denies raping a woman with a friend after a pub crawl in 2018.

The St George Illawarra forward, 30, and his friend Callan Sinclair, 23, have both pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of aggravated sexual assault, saying their encounter with the then-19-year-old in a North Wollongong unit was consensual.

The Sydney District Court jury began deliberations on Monday morning, following 13 days of pre-recorded and live evidence in which the woman testified she left a bar with the men under the misapprehension she was heading to another bar.

After arriving, she climbed a fence with the men and entered the unit to use the bathroom, before being attacked by de Belin.

Her calls for the men "stop" were ignored before she "just let it happen" and cried, she said.

The men deny observing any sign of non-consent, saying the woman was muttering "yes" and "enjoying" herself.

Already an acquaintance of Sinclair, the teenager met de Belin on a dancefloor of Wollongong bar Mr Crown during the city's popular Santa Pub Crawl.

After some dancing, de Belin says he said "You, me and Cal?" and the woman responded with a wink and a smile, once the footballer confirmed he could keep a secret from his girlfriend.

Dubbing that as a false account, the crown prosecutor said the accused men's evidence was "sprinkled" with words and actions "to turn the narrative into a false picture of a consensual sexual encounter".

"They just went too far and it became inherently implausible," David Scully said.

But de Belin's lawyer dubbed the accuser "inherently unreliable".

"This woman is the sort of person who takes a grain of fact and then moulds it, changes it, distorts it and uses it to tell a tale," David Campbell SC told jurors on Friday.

Sinclair's lawyer reminded the jury their decision should not be about sympathy, emotion or even whether the woman was lying.

"Not guilty means you're not satisfied the Crown has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt," Sharyn Hall said.

AAP