Former NRL superstar Jarryd Hayne had been at a two-day buck’s party for a fellow rugby league player on the weekend he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman at her home on the outskirts of Newcastle, a jury has heard.
Mr Hayne is on trial at Newcastle District Court for the alleged attack on the woman on September 30, 2018 – the night of that year’s NRL grand final. He is accused of performing oral and digital sex on her without her consent in the suburb of Fletcher.
The 32-year-old has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual intercourse without consent aggravated by recklessly inflicting actual bodily harm.
He arrived at court on Monday flanked by his mother Jodie Hayne and Amellia Bonnici, the mother of his daughter, and appeared calm as he brushed past a scrum of waiting media outside.
Mr Hayne was arraigned before a jury, which was empanelled in the morning, but the trial was unable to start.
During empanelment, the crown prosecutor Brian Costello told the jury the ex-Parramatta Eels fullback was in town on grand final weekend 2018 to attend then outgoing West Tigers player Kevin Naiqama’s buck’s party.
Among those at the buck’s party were several other professional rugby league players, including Mr Naiqama’s brother Wes, Kane Evans, Vitale Junior Roqica, Sauaso “Jesse” Sue and Apisai Koroisau.
A list of potential witnesses was read out to the jury during empanelment, including Newcastle Knights captain Mitchell Pearce and Channel 9 sports journalist Danny Weidler.
Judge Peter Whitford SC told the jury they needed to ignore Mr Hayne’s celebrity status, and any previous opinions about him, and base their decision solely on the evidence before the court.
“You may have sympathy or antipathy to him … put that to one side,” he said.
“Can I urge you to keep an open mind and listen to all of the evidence … before you make up your minds about the two charges on the indictment.”
Mr Costello and Mr Hayne’s barrister Phillip Boulten SC are expected to open their respective cases on Tuesday morning.
The trial is expected to take two weeks.
After a day in court, the former Fijian international walked down the steep stairs holding hands with Ms Bonnici before they got into a car waiting to whisk them away.
WHO IS JARRYD HAYNE?
The son of Fijian NRL player Manoa Thompson, Hayne was raised by his mother, Jodie, in a housing commission in western Sydney.
A true rags-to-riches tale, Hayne followed in his absent father’s footsteps by making his NRL debut at age 18. He was a sensation for the Parramatta Eels, winning the Dally M Medal as the league’s best player at age 21 while leading his team to the 2009 grand final.
The once-in-a-generation fullback was also a star at State of Origin level and was named NSW’s best player as it ended an eight-year drought in 2014, the same year he won his second Dally M.
The following year he stunned the competition by announcing he’d pursue an NFL career in America, where he defied the odds by earning a roster spot with the San Francisco 49ers after a sparkling pre-season and went on to appear in eight games as a running back and punt returner.
The successful transition in the US took Hayne’s fame to unprecedented heights but at age 27 it also marked the end of his time as an elite sports performer.
He left the NFL after the 49ers changed coaches and turned his hand to a third code, Rugby Sevens. After debuting for the world-beating Fijian side he failed to make the cut for the island nation’s Olympic squad, which went on to win a gold medal.
Hayne returned to the NRL in 2016 on the richest deal in the league’s history when the Gold Coast Titans paid him a reported $1.2 million a season. But he never recaptured his previous form and after forcing his way back to Parramatta he was out of contract at the end of the 2018 season when he was charged by police.
One of the toughest years of Payne Haas’ life is ending on a bright note after he and girlfriend Leilani Mohenoa announced they’re expecting a baby girl.
Mohenoa posted a photograph of an ultrasound on Instagram on Thursday night with the caption: “We lost an angel but he sent us another that same month. Baby girl due in May.”
“Can’t wait to meet our baby girl,” added Haas, on his page.
Haas’ older brother Chace, who became a quadriplegic when he was involved in a car crash at just five-months-old, died in mid-August aged 22.
Front-rower Haas, who also suffered through the dual disappointments of a bottom-placed finish with the Brisbane Broncos and NSW’s upset Origin defeat, was heartbroken by a big brother who was his best friend and hero.
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“I love you forever my best friend, my role model but most importantly my big brother. Going to miss our banter and seeing your big smile whenever I come home to see you but I know you’re going to be watching over all of us every step of the way,” he wrote in August.
“Thanks for being there for me when no one else was, I’m going to carry your name with me everywhere I go I did this for you before this happened and I’m going to keep doing this for you.
“Staunchest person I’ve ever met I’m missing you already honestly, Ride or Die my Hitta I’ll see you soon.”
Chace’s life, and that of the Haas family, was changed forever in 1999 when their car lost control while travelling between Canberra and Goulburn, crashing into a tree.
The second of 10 children, Chace suffered such severe whiplash he snapped his neck and would never walk.
Payne was born eight months after the accident and the pair have shared a special bond ever since.
“I wish it was me,” Payne told NRL.com in an interview last year.
“If I could go back and put myself in the situation he was in, I’d take that burden for him. I would love to see him live the life I am. I’d sit in that chair for the rest of my life to see him walk.
“Sometimes I cry in my room. I pray sometimes that things were never like that. I wish he was running around like us.
“Dad used to show us photos of how Chace was on life support. I’ve got life pretty easy. My brother knows real struggle.”
Haas admitted he was desperate to spend more time with his family and girlfriend after winning back-to-back player of the year awards with the Broncos.
But his long season continued with a frustrating Origin campaign, which included a Game Two fight with Queensland’s Tino Fa’asuamaleuai.
His final putt sparked emotional scenes on the 18th green as both Johnson and Gretzky fought back tears.
Johnson met Gretzky in 2009, but they didn’t start dating until 2013. Seven months later, the pair got engaged. They have two sons — 5-year-old Tatum and 3-year-old River.
She comes from sporting royalty and is the daughter of legendary Canadian hockey player Wayne Gretzky.
Johnson, who won the US Open in 2016, revealed in September how his other half plays a big part in his game.
“She’s a huge part of me, our family and my success,” Johnson said. “She’s home with the kids, and has been great with that, and just has been a huge supporter for me, with everything I need to do. She understands everything it takes to get to where you want to be and the sacrifices you have to make.
“Having her dad as the greatest hockey player, she understands. You couldn’t ask for a better partner.”
And today she was also receiving rave reviews from fans.
Paulina wearing her own green jacket is a 10 outta 10
Daniel Ricciardo has often been seen as one of the best drivers with the best personalities on the F1 grid but the Aussie star has revealed why he’s rarely seen with a woman on his arm.
In contrast to Lewis Hamilton – who has dominated on the track and the tabloids with a long list of high-profile former girlfriends – has rarely been seen in a similar situation, with the outgoing 31-year-old Aussie appearing to steer clear of the gossip pages.
Speaking on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast, Ricciardo spoke about his personal life in a way he rarely has before.
Admitting he likes to go to events early to be able to soak in new locations, Ricciardo was asked some more quick questions around race weekend.
The questioning started around his drinking habits.
“I’m not a big drinker but have I had a beer or a glass of wine before a race, like a Saturday night? Of course I have,” he said. “It’s not something I would do by habit. It’s normally if the weekend hasn’t gone too well and I just need to switch off for a little bit. But typically, if everything’s going to plan, which it has this year, then probably a Wednesday. It’s not going out to club on Wednesday night, it’s having a little cognac. I’m pretty disciplined, I enjoy having a good time but I guess race week I’m pretty chill.”
But the conversation then veered into sex, with Shepard pointing to some athletes who abstain from sex before big games or races.
“I used to, but not any more,” Ricciardo admitted. “I went against my rules obviously once and I was probably even better on Sunday so it’s all good. I threw that one out a few years ago.”
Overall, Ricciardo said he was “anti-superstition”.
“I feel it’s a sign of fear, not fear but that you’re putting a sign of doubt in your own head already,” he said. “It’s kind of like an excuse for something to go wrong.
“It’s easy to have a lack of accountability if you’ve got a superstition. It’s like ‘I had a bad race because I didn’t put my left sock on first’. I might brush off the reality of why I had a bad race because I didn’t put my sock on the right way.
“I don’t like it. If that was my tradition and I forgot to do it and I’m jumping in a car that’s doing 200 miles an hour, is that good for my headspace? You can’t have anything like that creeping in.”
It’s the focus that has seen Ricciardo racing in F1 since 2011.
But he admitted that the intensity of the sport and his chase for an elusive world championship hasn’t helped his personal life and relationships.
“It certainly is difficult when you’re so driven towards something,” Ricciardo admitted. “Me, for example, yes, I’ve made it to F1, that was a childhood dream and even I still pinch myself but you get there and it’s like, making it is not enough. I need to win, I need to be world champion.
“I’ve won races now but I’m yet to become a world champion so I’m still not satisfied. I’ve been doing F1 for 10 years so I’m constantly looking for more from it and putting myself first and being selfish. It is difficult and you do have to shut things out along the way and that is people and at times relationships. It’s finding that balance.
“I know some drivers have a wife and kids and I’m like ‘how do you do this with a family?’ The danger at one side and then just dedicating everything you can to the sport but also dedicating time to your family. I’m not there yet, I don’t know how I could manage that. I’m still in the moment of just trying to get the most out of me and I think what I’m doing is working so I’m going to keep going down that path. I’ll wait a while for kids I think.”
Jordyn Woods is opening up about her boyfriend, Karl-Anthony Towns.
The couple recently confirmed their relationship on Instagram, and Woods gushed about how she and the NBA star were able to get out of the friend-zone after a life-altering moment in his life brought them closer.
“If we’re being fully transparent, he and I have been friends for a few years now and we were just really close friends,” the 23-year-old shared. “We would talk all the time about life, about everything, and then after his mother passed it brought us a lot closer because I had gone through the loss of a parent as well, and so being that crutch for each other, I guess led to something more and it’s like being with your best friend.”
Woods’ father, John, died of cancer in early 2017. She previously told us she handled some of the trauma by turning to some of her close family and friends for comfort.
Woods said Towns, 24, who just completed the first season of a five-year $222 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, is always “in her corner”.
“It’s cool to have a partner that supports you and wants you to be the best version of you and wants you to be a businesswoman,” she said. “A lot people in the world don’t want to see you succeed, and to have someone in your corner that wants to see you succeed is pretty awesome.”
Earlier this month, the model revealed that she will be posting “iconic” content on OnlyFans, a paid subscription website popularised by mostly adult performers and influencers.
While Woods did not say whether she plans to share X-rated photos on the platform, she shared that Towns is “super supportive” of her choice to join the site.
“He sees my vision, and he’s super supportive,” she said. “It’s amazing to have people in your life that support you through whatever, and they’re there to uplift you, and help you through your journey. We’re very open about it. We talk about everything.”
Woods said she even shows her boyfriend some of the photos she is going to post before sharing them with the world.
“Obviously you don’t need approval from someone else, but I just want to make sure that everything is respectful,” she said, before adding with a laugh, “Also, I’m someone in my life that I really value the people around me’s opinion, so I have to ask like three people before posting something.”
Woods explained that she wanted to join OnlyFans because she saw it as a space where there was “no judgment.”
“You get to control your narrative, and I found a platform that I can share my more out-there content, and I can share things that I love to do, and my creative side — and not have judgment for it, as well as my photos can’t be used for other people’s likeness,” she said.
The influencer said she hopes to continue to bring “more awareness” to the platform, which in turn “creates more opportunity” for other creators who use it.
“I think there’s space for everyone, so it’s really cool, but I’m still learning,” she said. “I’m only a week in.”
Then in January Lette told his then-girlfriend he was making a video of her using a collage of the drunk photos put to music and texted her the film.
Mr Coburn said the pair broke up that month and in February the woman received a Facebook message from a friend of Lette’s that he had been emailed a video of her in her underwear and naked.
The email had been sent by Lette.
Mr Coburn said while the woman was naked, at no point was her genitalia exposed.
Lette pleaded guilty to distributing an illegal video and observations or recordings in breach of privacy.
Mr Coburn said “personal and general deterrence looms large”.
“In this case it appears (Lette) has taken the video in what might be considered good humour but then that’s taken a more sinister turn (when) he distributed that after the end of the relationship,” Mr Coburn said.
Defence solicitor Steven Hayles, of Macrossan & Amiet Solicitors, said on the day the pair were drinking in the spa area and the woman had been wearing a bra and undies as swimmers.
Mr Hayles said the offending occurred after the woman called Lette inside to help her as she was being ill – he photographed and “took selfies” with her while holding her hair as she vomited.
Mr Hayles said his client had no criminal history, had entered early guilty pleas and pushed for no convictions to be recorded.
Magistrate Bronwyn Hartigan labelled distributing the video as quite “bizarre” behaviour and agreed it was immature conduct for someone his age.
Ms Hartigan also agreed it sounded like the conduct began as a joke and it did not have the same flavour as revenge porn in that there was no sinister purpose in sending the video to his former friend.
“It’s seems completely inexplicable,” Ms Hartigan said.
“(The email) wasn’t accompanied with any words or any slurs … but obviously as you appreciate that caused her humiliation.”
Lette was fined $1000 and convictions were not recorded.