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Rapist Jarryd Hayne sentenced to five years, nine months jail

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Disgraced NRL superstar Jarryd Hayne has been sentenced to five years and nine months jail for the rape of a woman in her Newcastle bedroom on the night of the 2018 Grand Final.

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Hayne, one of the country’s most high profile rugby league stars, will spend at least three years and eight months behind bars before being eligible for parole for a sexual assault his victim told a court had destroyed her life.

District Court Judge Helen Syme in Newcastle on Thursday said Hayne had to be jailed because non-consensual sexual intercourse was an extreme form of violence which the community expected courts to take very seriously.

The judge noted Hayne only stopped attacking the victim when she started to bleed, not when she was telling him no and stop.

“She (the victim) has every right to feel safe from attack in the privacy of her home,” the judge said.

“The fact is she said no to the sexual activity the offender was forcing on her.

“The offender was fully aware the victim was not consenting.

“I do not accept the offender did not know or did not hear the victim telling him she did not want to have sex with him.”

The judge said Hayne’s decision to ignore the woman’s pleas to stop when forcibly giving her oral and digital sexual intercourse only increased the objective seriousness of the crime.

Hayne’s use of force was such that the victim had no chance to stop him given he had been a professional athlete.

Syme said the victim’s honesty had been tested at length during Hayne’s trial but the jury and the judge believed her, not Hayne.

The loss of Hayne’s career was a moral and natural consequence of his actions.

She said it was hard to see Hayne’s prospects of rehabilitation being regarded as high since he continued to maintain his innocence.

Earlier, the woman Hayne attacked said she had constant flashbacks of seeing his face during the sexual assault.

She told the court Hayne had destroyed her life and she would never be the same again.

In an emotional victim impact statement read to the court, the 28-year-old woman, who cannot be named, said Hayne had made her feel dirty and violated.

She said he had made her feel like an object and had been seeing right through her.

“You don’t owe somebody your body, nor should they expect it,” the woman said.

“My body remembers and my mind won’t let me forget.

“This assault has changed me. It changed my direction and who I was.

“I don’t remember the last time I had a proper sleep.”

The woman had endured “countless hours of crying” and visited various psychologists to try to push the memory of what happened to the back of her mind.

She and her mother had been forced to move out of their home because she could never be in that bedroom again.

The woman no longer trusted anyone, pushed everyone away and “freaks out if I get close to anyone”.

She told the court she made the mistake of looking at social media and wanted to scream at people discussing the case and “set them straight”.

“What I experienced was horrible. Nobody should have to feel that way. I’m destroyed and damaged but I’m still standing.”

Hayne, 33, who was dropped off outside court on Thursday before a crowd of supporters tried to shield him from the media, was found guilty in March of two counts of sexual assault by a jury of seven men and five women during a retrial in Sydney.

He was found not guilty of the two more serious charges of aggravated sexual assault without consent inflicting actual bodily harm, and is facing a maximum 14 years’ jail.

The first jury in Newcastle was discharged in December after being deadlocked and failing to reach a verdict.

Hayne was called to give evidence on Thursday about the impact the charges had had on his career and livelihood.

He said he was set to sign a lucrative one-year, $500,000 deal with the St George Illawarra on the day he was charged with sexual assault.

“As soon as the charges were laid, it (the deal) was put to bed I guess,” Hayne told the court.

Former Parramatta Eels captain Tim Mannah told the court there was a definite shift in Hayne’s Christian faith after he was charged and went to a bible college in Perth as part of his bail conditions.

Mannah said you now couldn’t have a five-minute conversation with Hayne without him bringing up something in the Bible.

Defence barrister Richard Pontello SC claimed Hayne had had a genuine, deep-seated reconnection with his Christian faith which showed he was highly unlikely to reoffend and had good prospects of rehabilitation.

The crown case against Hayne was he arrived drunk at the woman’s house on the outskirts of Newcastle about 9pm on September 30, 2018 and stayed for about 45 minutes, committed two sex acts on her without her consent involving digital penetration and oral sex before causing two separate injuries to her genitalia before leaving.

The woman told the jury Hayne tried to kiss and touch her but when she said “no” and “stop” he pushed her head into the pillow, ripped off her trousers and attacked her.

Hayne claimed he knew the woman did not want to have sex with him after she realised he had a taxi waiting outside but she agreed to him performing oral sex on her to please her.

He said the woman’s injuries must have been caused when he accidentally cut her with his finger.

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