Rugby league star Hayne to spend nearly 4 years in jail

SYDNEY — Jarryd Hayne, a rugby league star who also played in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers, has been sentenced to at least three years and eight months in jail for the sexual assault of a woman in 2018.

Hayne was found guilty in March of two counts of sexual assault.

A judge ruled on Thursday that Hayne should be jailed for five years, nine months with a non-parole period of three years and eight months. After the sentencing was announced, Hayne was taken away by corrective services officials.

Hayne was found not guilty of the two more serious charges of aggravated sexual assault without consent inflicting actual bodily harm.

The 33-year-old Hayne had denied assaulting the woman in the bedroom of her home in Newcastle, north of Sydney, in September 2018. Court testimony said Hayne had a taxi waiting out front of the woman’s home while he was with her.

In handing down the sentence, District Court Judge Helen Syme said she found that Hayne was fully aware that the victim was not consenting and proceeded anyway.

“The reliability and honesty of the victim’s evidence was tested at length and in my view, her reliability was not in doubt. She said no several times,” Syme said. “The use of force was such that the victim had no prospect of stopping him physically. He was at least twice her weight at 100 kilograms (220 pounds) and an athlete at the top of his form. The offender was fully aware the victim was not consenting.”

Hayne was a two-time player of the year in Australia’s National Rugby League. He also had a season in the NFL with the 49ers.

He represented Australia and was a star for New South Wales in the annual State of Origin series against Queensland.

Hayne left the NRL and spent a season with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL before returning to rugby league via a brief stint with Fiji’s rugby sevens squad in 2016. He has not played in the NRL since his contract with Parramatta expired in 2018.

From his time with the 49ers, Hayne was in court over a rape-related incident in December 2015. He later settled a civil case in which it was alleged he had assaulted a woman in California.

The case was dropped after the parties reached a “mutually agreeable settlement.” The woman launched civil action after authorities failed to gather enough evidence to proceed with criminal charges.

The woman’s attorney said “the parties reached a mutually agreeable settlement” but that the terms were private. Hayne at the time said he “unequivocally and vehemently denies the allegations.”

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