Jarryd Hayne has been sentenced to four years and nine months for sexual assault, with a minimum term of three years. As he has already spent roughly nine months behind bars, he will be eligible to apply for release on parole on 6 May 2025.
The 35-year old former NRL star was found guilty by a jury last month of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent, also known as sexual assault.
This was Mr Hayne’s third trial, after the first ended in a hung jury, and the second resulted in a guilty verdict which was successfully appealed.
By the time of the appeal, Jarryd Hayne had been sentenced and served 9 months behind bars at the Cooma Correctional Centre.
Time already served
During the sentencing hearing in Downing Centre District Court, Mr Hayne appeared via video link from Silverwater Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre (the MRRC) where he is currently in isolation from other inmates for his own safety.
In his remarks during sentencing, Judge Graeme Turnbull stated that Mr Hayne knew the complainant was not consenting and “overwhelmed her in an inherently unequal context and an indulgence of physical power to achieve some sexual gratification”.
The judge also noted that Mr Hayne “maintains his innocence”, and, as a result, “expresses no contrition or remorse”.
The issue of consent
His Honour further noted Mr Hayne’s evidence that “I thought I’d just please her and that was it”, before “plac[ing] her hand on his crotch”.
The complainant testified that Mr Hayne grabbed her pants and “pulled them off in one go”, was rough and forceful and performed the acts despite her saying “no” and “stop”, leaving her bleeding.
“The offending only stopped when the bleeding commenced,” Judge Turnbull remarked during the sentencing hearing. “He did not relent voluntarily.”
In terms of mitigating factors, the judge found that Mr Hayne was “well on the way to rehabilitation”, noting his commitment to his Christian faith, devotion to his family and change of attitude towards alcohol.
Appeal likely to be filed
Now the proceedings have finalised, Mr Hayne’s defence lawyers have indicated an intention to appeal against the convictions.
The judge expressed the view that Mr Hayne is a low risk of reoffending, and he will now be ‘classified’ in the prison system and is likely to return to Cooma Correctional Centre, a medium security facility south of Canberra.
Sexual Assault penalties in New South Wales
Any person who has sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of the other person and who knows that the other person does not consent to the sexual intercourse is liable to imprisonment for 14 years.
However 14 years is the maximum penalty that courts can impose and while imprisonment is the most common penalty for sexual assault, courts rarely impose sentences this long. Figures show that the average sentence for sexual assault in New South Wales is 5 years and 4.5 months. The average non-parole period is about 3 years and 1 month.
In sexual assault cases, for a person to be found guilty, the prosecution needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
1. That the accused person did engage in sexual intercourse with the victim at the time and place alleged. Under the definition in the Crimes Act this not only refers to genital penetration by a person’s body parts, but also includes penetration of a person’s genitals by objects manipulated by another person, and also oral sex.
There is no need to prove that ejaculation or full penetration occurred, or that the intercourse was for sexual gratification.
2. The victim did not consent. Consent in relation to sexual assault in New South Wales now must involve the ‘free and voluntary agreement’ of each party, either verbally or through the victim’s actions. The general sentiment of the new laws is that you need to be certain that all parties involved in the sexual activity are participating with enthusiastic agreement.
New ‘affirmative consent’ laws, which came into effect last year mean that consent must be present every time, including for the duration of any sexual act. Consent to one sexual act does not automatically mean consent is given to any other act – partners need to communicate constantly.
Further, under the new laws, consent to a sexual act with one person does not mean consent is given to a sexual act with a different person, or with the same person on a different occasion. Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
A person must say or do something to communicate consent. Consent can be communicated by words or gestures.
The law recognises some situations where there can be no consent, including if the person
- Is incapable of consenting because of, for example, a cognitive impairment or intellectual disability
- Is unconscious
- Is asleep
- Is affected by drugs and alcohol and incapable of consenting
- participates in the sexual activity because they are forced to, or fear harm to themselves or someone else
- Is intimidated or coerced into giving consent
- Is tricked or duped into participating by serious fraud
3.The accused person knew that the complainant didn’t consent to the act, or was ‘reckless’ (careless) as to consent, or had no reasonable grounds for believing that the complainant consented to the act.
In situations where a person genuinely, but wrongly, believed that consent was given, this element will not be made out and the charges against you may be dismissed.