Former Parramatta Eels rugby league player Jarryd Hayne appeared in court this morning where his laywer said he will plead not guilty to a sexual assault charge at Burwood Local Court, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
He is accused of sexually assaulting a 26-year-old woman in the Hunter region on September 30 this year, NRL grand final night.
His barrister, Richard Pontello, today said that Hayne “maintains his innocence” against the charge of aggravated sexual assault and inflicting actual bodily harm.
After appearing in court, his lawyer Leo Premutico reiterated that Hayne is pleading not guilty, and added: “He’d like at this time to offer his thanks to those who have supported him including his parents.”
It is alleged that Hayne, believed to be intoxicated, tore off the woman’s clothes and bit her on the genitals, causing such severe bleeding that she required medical treatment. She reportedly has photographic evidence of her injuries.
Court documents allege that between 8pm and 10pm on September 30, Hayne had “sexual intercourse with a 26-year-old female known to police, without her consent, and knowing that she was not consenting to the sexual intercourse in circumstances of aggravation“.
The pair had begun speaking on social media before Hayne arrived to the home the woman shares with her mother, north of Newcastle. He allegedly instructed his taxi driver to wait 20 minutes, before returning to take the same taxi back home to Sydney
Reports back in November wrote that after the alleged assault, Hayne returned to Sydney where he was spied drinking with another NRL player at Merrylands Bowlo at about 3am.
Hayne handed himself into the NSW Sex Crimes Squad at Ryde Police Station in mid-November. He was later released on $20,000 conditional bail. He is not allowed to enter the Newcastle area or contact the victim.
Police launched an investigation into the incident after the NRL Integrity Unit passed on the woman’s complaint.
The case is due to resume at Newcastle Local Court on February 13. Hayne is not required to appear.
Hayne is also currently fighting civil litigation in the United States, where he is accused of raping a woman in December 2015 while he was playing with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL. He denies the allegations.
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