BREAKING NEWS: Rugby league legend Laurie Daley has come under fire for his comments after former NRL star Jarryd Hayne was found guilty of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent.
A jury found Hayne guilty on both counts on Tuesday, after the incident in Newcastle on the night of the 2018 NRL grand final. The conviction marks the third time the matter has been before the courts.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said in a statement read to the court that the assault had a profound effect on her life and she had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She said she had struggled to trust people and suffered anxiety and depression since the incident.
Discussing the matter on Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast, Daley, who coached Hayne at State of Origin representative level, said the news was “hard to believe”. Daley said the news was “hard to believe” and expressed sympathy for Hayne and his family. He also commented that he found Hayne to be a good person and outstanding footballer. Daley’s comments were criticized on social media for showing more sympathy towards Hayne than the victim.
The show’s host Gerard Middleton compared the issue to former AFL star Jobe Watson handing back his 2012 Brownlow Medal after the Essendon supplements saga, and pre-empting Hayne being stripped of his two Dally M Medals. Australian cricket great Michael Clarke said there was “no doubt” Hayne would lose his Dally M Medals.
Hayne has indicated he plans to appeal the matter, telling media outside court “yes” when asked, and maintaining his innocence “100 per cent”. The approach to the matter and the focus on Hayne over the victim was criticised heavily on social media, with one “loyal, long-time listener” of the show saying they would no longer listen to the show after hearing the comments.
Hayne was released on bail ahead of a bail review hearing on Thursday.
Hayne’s convictions were overturned on appeal in February 2022 after serving nine months in prison. He was granted bail and a third trial was ordered. Hayne was not contracted to an NRL team when he was first charged.
Hayne briefly tried to a build a career in the National Football League in the United States, but was accused of sexual assault in 2015. He ultimately reached a confidential settlement with the survivor before a trial scheduled in 2019 began.
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