Jack de Belin rape trial hears evidence from tuk-tuk driver, friend of Callan Sinclair


A tuk-tuk driver has told a court that Jack de Belin’s alleged rape victim said “like f*** we are” when the NRL star announced that they were going into an apartment building on the night in question.

The 29-year-old St George Illawarra player and junior NRL player Callan Sinclair, 23, have pleaded not guilty to raping a 19-year-old woman after the Wollongong Santa Claus Pub Crawl in December 2018.

On the seventh day of the trial in Wollongong District Court the jury heard evidence from the pedicab cab driver who picked up both the accused men and the complainant on the night of the alleged assault and drove them to an apartment in North Wollongong.

Gary Port explained the tuk-tuk used a combination of physical strength and mechanics to work and that it was an “extremely busy” night.

Mr Port told the jury he took the three passengers to the top of the Crown Street Mall, where he stopped and asked where they wanted to go.

“Then I pressed them and asked them where they wanted to go because I was busy – it was a busy night – and he said to me, ‘You’ll just have to trust me,'” he said.

He said Mr de Belin asked him to turn right and told him again to trust him as they travelled up Keira Street.

He said when the arrived at the corner of Keira and Gipps Street Mr de Belin asked him to turn right and go up the hill.

“And my exact word is, “F*** off, I am not going up that hill — not for anything, I am not going up that hill,” Mr Port said.

“As they were getting off, he paid me $50 and said they were going up to the unit and I heard the girl, distinctively, what she said.”

“Do you remember her exact words?” Crown prosecutor David Scully asked.

Callan Sinclair is also accused of raping the woman and is facing trial alongside de Belin.(ABC Illawarra: Tim Fernandez)

‘A fun, intimate kiss’

Another witness, Matthew Clune, told the jury he had started December 8 drinking with his twin brother and his older brother, St George Illawarra player Adam Clune, at the house of Euan Aitken, also a Dragons player.

They were joined later by Mr Sinclair and Mr de Belin.

Mr Clune said the group then went out to join the pub crawl and made their way to the Mr Crown nightclub, where he met the complainant among a group of people dancing.

Mr Clune rejected the complainant’s earlier evidence that he had asked her to come home with him, saying he had a girlfriend at the time.

He also told the court he saw the complainant kiss Mr Sinclair on the dancefloor.

“I looked to the side and I saw them kissing,” Mr Clune said.

When questioned further by the defence, Mr Clune said it was “just a fun, intimate kiss that you always see at a nightclub — a pash.”

Three men in suits walk down stairs.
De Belin with lawyer Robert Forster, left, and barrister David Campbell after the first week of his rape trial.(ABC Illawarra: Kelly Fuller)

‘Couldn’t believe it’

Mr Clune told the court he “couldn’t believe” what he was hearing when Mr Sinclair called him the next day to tell him about the rape allegations.

The primary school teacher and tennis coach said he followed up the conversation with text messages.

“I could maybe try and message her,” he said in a text to Mr Sinclair.

Copies of the texts tendered to the court showed Mr Sinclair responded:

Mr Clune was also asked about other messages he sent to Mr Sinclair over the next couple of hours.

“So sus how she went back to [nightclub] Fever with you, then claiming what happened,” he wrote.

“Yeah that is it,” Mr Sinclair replied.

The trial continues.



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