Ex-Australia rugby league star Jarryd Hayne wins an appeal against his rape conviction

SYDNEY (AP) — Ex-Australian rugby league international Jarryd Hayne had his rape conviction overturned on appeal Wednesday and was released from his year-long stay in jail.

The New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal ruled that a judge erred in not allowing the complainant to be further cross-examined during Hayne’s trial. The Sydney-based appeal court also ruled the trial judge did not properly direct the jury about how to deal with allegations the complainant had lied.

Judge Graham Turnbull, who oversaw the trial, refused requests for the woman to be cross-examined on the statement, saying it carried “almost infinitesimal weight.”

Hayne was granted bail unopposed on Wednesday and the case was due to return to the state’s district court in late July, when prosecutors can provide an update on how they will proceed to a possible fourth trial in the case.

Hayne was accused of raping a woman in her home on the night of the 2018 National Rugby League grand final.

Hayne, 36, has spent the last year in jail after a jury convicted him in April 2023 of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent after a previous guilty finding was overturned on appeal.

Hayne had a long career in the NRL between 2006 and 2018, mostly playing for Parramatta. He represented Australia and Fiji at international level.

He also had a short stint with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers in 2015 and made an unsuccessful bid to play for Fiji in the Olympic debut of Rugby Sevens in 2016.

Hayne’s first trial in 2020 ended when the jury was discharged after failing to deliver a majority verdict. He was convicted at the second trial in 2021 and served nine months of a sentence of five years and nine months before he successfully appealed and was released ahead of a third trial.

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