Jarryd Hayne's alleged victim fought for 5 years to get justice. He's just walked free from prison.

Jarryd Hayne is a free man. 

Last night the former NRL player was released from Mary Wade Correctional Centre in Sydney after serving just a year behind bars. 

In April 2023, he was found guilty of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent and sentenced to four years nine months behind bars. 

But his conviction has been quashed, for a second time. NSW's highest court ruled the trial judge erred by not allowing further cross-examination of the complainant over her communications with third parties regarding the night of the alleged sexual assault.


Hayne's barrister, Tim Game SC, told April's appeal hearing that messages the woman sent to Hayne and others, deleted from her phone, amounted to deliberate concealment of evidence.

He argued the woman should have been cross-examined on why she allegedly told police, "If those messages get out, I'm f***ed and he will get off".

Judge Graham Turnbull, who oversaw Hayne's third trial in the NSW District Court, refused requests for the woman to be cross-examined further, saying her anticipated answers, and their ultimate absence, would not create any real unfairness.

This week, however, the appeal court ruled otherwise with a 2-1 majority. 

Prosecutors are still deciding whether to pursue a fourth trial, but given his sentence was supposed to expire in May 2025, the appeal court believes pursuing another is not in the interests of justice. 

So Hayne's time behind bars is likely over. He has spent less time in prison than his alleged victim has spent fighting to put him there. 

What is Jarryd Hayne accused of doing?

Hayne was accused of raping a woman with his hands and mouth at her Newcastle home on the night of the 2018 NRL Grand Final.

Three separate criminal trials were told the woman, who cannot be identified, changed her mind about having sex with Hayne after realising he had a taxi waiting outside.

Hayne has been found guilty in two separate trials, which have both been quashed. Image: AAP/Rick RyCroft.


He was accused of coming into her home, watching the final minutes of the NRL Grand Final with her mum, before assaulting the 26-year-old in her bedroom leaving her bleeding. 

The court heard that the pair cleaned blood off themselves in the victim's ensuite bathroom before Hayne returned to the taxi and paid $550 to the driver to be taken to Sydney.

For nearly five years the woman navigated the justice system, sat through three lengthy trials and hours and hours of analysis and criticism of her every move, to see her alleged rapist put behind bars.

After being charged in November 2018, Hayne faced a jury trial in November 2020 that resulted in a hung jury. A second trial in March 2021 found him guilty, and he spent nine months in prison before his convictions were quashed. In March 2023 a third trial once again found him guilty. The jury accepted the woman’s version of events that she repeatedly said "no" and "stop" and was left bleeding from what transpired. 


Hayne gave evidence that he knew the woman "didn’t want to have sex". He agreed that he drew a distinction between the sexual acts that occurred, which he claimed were entirely consensual, and what he regarded as sex.

A year later that finding has also now been quashed because of issues with the cross-examination of his accuser. 

In court, Hayne's alleged victim has repeatedly heard the crime she accused him of described as "less serious" than other assaults because she and Hayne texted about sex before he arrived at her home. 

She's been subjected to vile abuse on social media and says the past few years have been like living in a "never-ending nightmare."

Now she is facing the prospect of a fourth trial, or no trial at all. 

After the third trial, the toll was evident. In an updated victim impact statement to the court she said each time she feels she is starting to recover mentally, something new will arise such as a court date, and she relives "the same trauma over and over". 

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

- With AAP

Feature image: AAP/Dan Himbrechts.