BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 09: Jack De Belin of the Dragons passes during the NRL Elimination Final match between the Brisbane Broncos and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium on September 9, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Stood down Dragon Jack De Belin is free to return to NRL pending final approval from the league after having his sexual assault charges dropped.

The 30-year old along with friend Callan Sinclair were earlier this month found not guilty on one of his six charges relating to the alleged sexual assault of a woman in Wollongong in 2018.

The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the other five charges and were dismissed - which marked the second time in six months a jury had not been able to reach a verdict in the pair's trial.

“We make no apology for taking the hardest stance in Australian sport where our players are charged with serious criminal offences. We cannot remain indifferent to such charges, particularly those against women,’’ NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said in a statement.

“The 'No-Fault Stand Down' rule upholds the values of the game, protects the game’s commercial relationships and provides safeguards for the very small number of players who find themselves the subject of serious criminal charges.

“This is an example of our processes working.  Jack continued to be employed by the club and was able to extend his contract with the Dragons during the process.

“The rule worked as it should.

“Once there are no longer charges against him, Jack will be free to play. Our welfare team will continue to liaise closely with the Dragons.”

SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES - MAY 06: Jack De Belin of the Dragons pokes out his tongue as he leaves the field during the round nine NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Melbourne Storm at UOW Jubilee Oval on May 6, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The Daily Telegraph reports that De Belin was informed of the Department of Public Prosecutions' decision on Thursday.

“Obviously we’re delighted that it’s all over. It’s been a tough journey,” De Belin’s Barrister David Campbell SC told The Daily Telegraph.

“We’d like to see everyone move on with their lives and do their best. I have faith in the legal system and the presumption of innocence has triumphed.”

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 01: Jack De Belin of the Dragons in action during the round 25 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the St George Illawarra Dragons at McDonald Jones Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

It is unknown at this stage whether Sinclair has been cleared to make his NRL return.

But for De Belin, it means he is now eligible to take up a four-year deal he signed with the St George Illawarra Dragons reportedly worth around $3 million.

The forward has remained contracted to the Dragons during the two trials but has been stood down under the NRL's 'No-Fault Stand Down' policy.

He has made 154 first-grade appearances for the Red V since making his NRL debut in 2011, but has not played since the end of 2018.

The Dragons released the following statement on the matter.

"The Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (NSW) have advised that the Jack de Belin court matter will not proceed to a third trial.

"The NRL have confirmed the imminent expiration of de Belin's no-fault stand down sanction.

"Today's outcome concludes a tumultuous period for all involved in the Jack de Belin matter," Dragons CEO Ryan Webb said.

""I wish to thank the support received by our partners, members and fans throughout this entire process."

"The Dragons can also confirm that de Belin will remain at the club until at least the end of the 2023 season following the DPP's decision."

 

1 COMMENT

  1. The Dragons would really benefit from having a focused JDB in the team, but I think there will be sledging from some opposition players. So many comments have been made on social media and the like and it would be naïve to think he will have a trouble free return to the NRL.
    Does the fact the Dragons have stood by him during his stand down indicate they thought he was innocent? I have my own opinion about it, and JDB must know in his own heart and mind whether his actions were those of a drunken idiot or not.

Comments are closed.