St George Illawarra Dragons player Jack De Belin has had his bail conditions relaxed on account of his celebrity footballer status, as details of his alleged rape of a woman inside a Wollongong apartment block have been aired for the first time in court.
Police documents reveal De Belin, 27, is accused of repeatedly raping the woman inside his cousin’s apartment on Gipps Street in the early hours of December 9 last year while his friend and co-accused, Callan Sinclair, 21, watched on.
At one stage, De Belin is alleged to have invited Sinclair to participate, saying “come on, have a go”, as the alleged victim lay on the bed, crying.
De Belin and Sinclair, who both fronted court for the first time on Tuesday, have each pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated sexual assault in company.
Sinclair was in and out of the registrar’s court in a matter of minutes, however, De Belin’s case was referred to Magistrate Roger Clisdell after De Belin’s lawyer David Campbell SC flagged an application to change his current bail.
De Belin has spent the past two months reporting to Wollongong Police Station twice a week - Mondays and Fridays - however Mr Campbell asked for the court to delete that condition on account of his need to travel with the Dragons to interstate games.
The application was opposed by police prosecutor Sergeant Sean Thackray, who argued the reporting condition was not an onerous one given the seriousness of the charge.
“The community expectation in relation to the nature and seriousness of the offence would dictate that all measures are put in place to ensure he attends court,” Sgt Thackray said.
“The prosecution submits that if at anytime he becomes fearful of being convicted, the temptation arises for him to leave the jurisdiction.
“I’m not saying its likely, I’m saying it’s a risk. To mitigate that concern, the bail officer put a reporting condition in place.”
Mr Campbell said his client was currently being supervised by the NRL Integrity Unit (two board members were in court to hear the application) and that De Belin did not present a flight risk given his sporting commitments, the fact he owned real estate in the area and that his wife of six years was heavily pregnant.
Magistrate Clisdell agreed to delete the condition, finding that De Belin was essentially “too well known” to flee, especially given he had already surrendered his passport.
“He has a substantial contract to play professional rugby league, and it requires him to travel interstate,” he said.
“Given he’s a high profile sports person, he’s been in media for a number of years, I don’t think he presents a flight risk.”
Both cases were adjourned to April 17 for police to serve the brief of evidence on Sinclair and De Belin’s legal representatives.
Police documents tendered to Wollongong Local court and sighted by the Mercury reveal De Belin, Sinclair and the alleged victim met at Mr Crown nightclub on the evening of December 8, where they talked and danced as part of a larger group.
However, it is alleged the woman accompanied De Belin and Sinclair when they decided to leave Mr Crown and head to Fever Nightclub.
The trio was captured on CCTV standing at a taxi rank on Kembla Street for a short time before speaking to a group of people in the lower part of the Crown Street Mall.
The trio then got into a Tuk Tuk-style taxi and headed north on Keira Street, with the two men telling the alleged victim they wanted to charge their phones before they headed out again.
They went to a unit on Gipps Street, owned by De Belin’s cousin, who was not home at the time.
The woman told police she used the bathroom when they got inside, however as she was finishing, she claims De Belin walked in, naked.
She walked out and De Belin hopped in the shower for a short time.
It is alleged De Belin was again naked when he came out of the ensuite naked, but this time grabbed hold of the woman and forcibly removed her shirt.
She claims she put her hands over her breasts, at which time both De Belin and Sinclair allegedly said “show us your tits”.
It is alleged De Belin then grabbed the woman by the legs, took her shorts and underwear off and and threw them on the floor.
“De Belin moved himself between her legs, lent down and put his right hand around her throat and [his] right forearm pinned the upper left side off her body,” the police fact sheet said.
He then began raping her, while Sinclair watched on, without speaking, it is alleged.
The woman said she she next saw Sinclair he was removing his clothes, at which time De Belin said to him “come have a go”.
It is alleged the pair then engaged in the joint rape of the woman, at one stage swapping positions between them, before Sinclair alleged said “I can’t get hard anymore” and went to have a shower.
Police allege De Belin continued to rape the woman in the bedroom, at times putting his hand around her throat, making it hard for her to breath.
Afterwards, the woman said she had a shower before ordering the trio an Uber to take them to Fever Nightclub.
She said she left soon after they arrived, and contacted a friend.
She then went to Wollongong Hospital where she underwent a rape test.
She was seen to have injuries to her legs, neck, lower abdomen and shoulder.
Court documents noted the size difference between De Belin and the woman - she is a size 6, and weighs 51kg, while De Belin is 188cm tall and weighs 106kg.
Police raided the Gipps Street unit later that day, seizing sheets, towels and clothing.
Both men were granted strict conditional bail.