Australian News

Jarryd Hayne trial: Day 9 updates, sexual assault allegations at Newcastle Court

The jury in Jarryd Hayne’s sexual assault trial has been unable to reach a unanimous verdict on both of the serious charges he is facing, a court has heard.

In one of two notes passed to Judge Peter Whitford SC on Friday afternoon, the jurors said they could not reach a decision but were prepared to return next week to “re-examine” the evidence.

The jury of eight men and four women have been deliberating since Thursday afternoon over whether Mr Hayne is guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in Newcastle on NRL grand final night 2018.

Mr Whitford urged the jurors to keep deliberating before he released them for the weekend to return to their duties on Monday.

Mr Hayne, 32, is on trial at Newcastle District Court, charged with two counts of aggravated sexual intercourse without consent recklessly inflicting actual bodily harm.

He is fighting claims he forced himself on the woman by pulling off her pants before performing digital and oral sex on her at a home on Newcastle’s outskirts.

The court heard she suffered two lacerations to her genitalia during the encounter, causing considerable bleeding, as a taxi waited outside to drive Mr Hayne to Sydney.

The former Parramatta fullback was in town for a buck’s party and arranged to meet her on September 30, 2018, after they exchanged a series of flirty messages over social media in the weeks before.

He claims the sex was consensual and the woman’s injuries were caused by his finger.

Mr Hayne’s barrister Phillip Boulten SC on Thursday told the jury the woman’s injuries were simply a result of his client’s “bad sex”.

“He was trying to please her, sexually. But it ended really badly,” he said in his closing address.

“It caused her a lot of pain, discomfort and grief. And to be frank his sexual prowess turned out to be terrible.”

Crown prosecutor Brian Costello argued in his closing address the jury should reject Mr Hayne’s evidence as being unreliable.

Mr Costello said Mr Hayne effectively invited himself over to the woman’s house, ditching his friends at the party and missing out on watching a grand final featuring some of his former State of Origin teammates.

“He’s given that up for one plain and obvious reason – the sex he thought he had been promised by way of those communications,” he said.

“The reason he went there was for sex; pure and simple.”

Mr Costello said the fact he had “achieved a level of fame few of us have achieved in our lives” did not permit the jury to “give him a pass”.

The trial will reconvene on Monday.

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Local News - Victoria

Victoria records 35th consecutive day without a new COVID case

“The Australian-first genomics hub will future-proof our position as a national leader in genomic research – harnessing our highly skilled talent, a culture of innovation and our world class universities,” Mr Pallas said.

He said the $60 million hub would create jobs for hundreds of medical research staff and interns.

It will be called the Illumina-University of Melbourne Genomics Hub, partnering with global company Illumina, which is based in San Diego.

Victoria’s extended run of zero-case days continues as the state prepares for the first international travellers to arrive in Melbourne on Monday since flights were suspended during the catastrophic second coronavirus wave.

The returned travellers will be the first to be accommodated in Victoria’s revamped hotel quarantine program.

Meanwhile, health authorities revealed on Thursday that traces of COVID-19 had been detected in wastewater in the Daylesford, Hepburn and Hepburn Springs area, north-west of Melbourne.

The viral fragments were detected from a sample taken on Monday and further samples were to be taken on Thursday for testing, the Health Department said. Anyone with symptoms who was in the region on the weekend is being advised to get tested.

The discovery follows a similar warning for people who have visited the south-west Victorian town of Colac, after “strong” traces of COVID-19 were found in the town’s sewage.

Victoria’s testing commander Jeroen Weimar said the results were believed to be from “viral shedding”.

He said the man believed to be the source of the viral fragments was known to the Health Department and was no longer considered infectious.

Nonetheless, health authorities are still urging truck drivers and other recent visitors to Colac who display even the mildest symptoms to get tested.

Testing is available at Colac Neighbourhood House until 12.30pm on Friday.

Health Minister Martin Foley revealed on Thursday that Victoria’s Health Department has developed in-house contact tracing technology that it says will help draw links between coronavirus cases and save epidemiologists hours of work.


The “mystery case tracker” tool generates a digital diagram based on contact tracing data that connects cases, contacts and their movements, allowing the government’s epidemiologists to quickly contrast and compare outbreaks.

Mr Foley said the new mystery case tracker tool would help Victoria stay one step ahead of coronavirus as outbreaks occur.

Premier Daniel Andrews will announce a further easing of restrictions on Sunday, which will outline the plan for the rest of the summer.

NSW recorded a new case of COVID-19 on Thursday after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive, ending the state’s almost month-long streak of no locally acquired cases.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the woman from Minto in Sydney’s south-west worked at two CBD hotels, one of which is a police quarantine hotel. She worked at the Novotel and the Ibis at Darling Harbour and caught public transport to and from work.

The woman’s five family members were tested overnight and all returned a negative result for the virus.

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Australian News

Pilbara man Luke Whatley breaks own swimming record for International Day of People with Disability

Paraplegic Pilbara man Luke Whatley clocked up more than 10 hours in the swimming pool yesterday, to show that anyone can achieve their dreams if they put their mind to it.

Yesterday Mr Whatley, who is incapacitated from the waist down, swam 150 laps at his local swimming pool, Karratha Leisureplex, in celebration of International Day of People with Disability.

“It’ll go down in the Leisureplex history,” he said.

In 2019, the Karratha local set a personal record of swimming 100 laps in one day, but this year he wanted to raise the bar even higher.

“All kinds of people, all people can achieve their dreams no matter how small they are or how big they are,” he said.

Most days, Mr Whatley can be found at the pool in Karratha or at the local gym as he works towards his fitness goals.

A man swimming in a public pool with lanes marked by ropes and floats
Luke Whatley says anyone can achieve their dreams if they work hard.(ABC Pilbara: Verity Hughes)

Community celebrates success

Mr Whatley started his marathon swim at 6am yesterday morning and completed his final lap at 4.30pm.

His friends, family, support staff and community members were poolside as Mr Whatley swam lap after lap.

Local schoolchildren also cheered him on. He said hearing the crowd helped him to keep going.

At the end of his massive feat, everyone gathered around Mr Whatley to celebrate his achievement.

“I could go back and do more,” he said. “But 150 is good for today.

A man sits with two thumbs up as an older woman and man hug him from behind and smile broadly
Luke Whatley and his proud parents Julia and Andrew Heath.(ABC Pilbara: Susan Standen)

‘An amazing man,’ says Premier

But there was one person who Mr Whatley was really excited to share his news with. His hero — Premier Mark McGowan.

Earlier this year, Mr McGowan visited Mr Whatley’s workplace at a local shopping centre.

“I’d like to say Mark McGowan is an absolute legend,” Mr Whatley said.

“I just can’t wait to see him again.”

The Premier sent Luke a message following his epic efforts in the pool.

“Congratulations to Luke, what an amazing young man he is,” Mr McGowan said.

“I look forward to hearing about his next achievements.”

The ABC is partnering with International Day of People with Disability to celebrate the 4.4 million Australians with disability.

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Australian News

Jarryd Hayne trial: Day 8 updates, sexual assault allegations from Newcastle Court

Former NRL star Jarryd Hayne’s “terrible” sexual prowess accidentally caused the injuries that led a woman to accuse him of sexual assault, his barrister has told a jury.

The former Parramatta fullback is on trial at Newcastle District Court, fighting claims he forced himself on the woman, then 26, after arranging to go to her house the night of the 2018 NRL grand final.

The court has heard the woman suffered two lacerations to her genitalia when Mr Hayne, 32, allegedly pulled off her pants and began digital and oral sex on her as a taxi waited outside her home on Newcastle’s outskirts.

Mr Hayne was in town for a buck’s party and arranged to meet her on September 30, 2018, after they exchanged a series of flirty messages over social media in the weeks before.

He claims the sex was consensual and the woman’s injuries were caused by his finger.

On day eight of his trial, Mr Hayne’s barrister Phillip Boulten SC told the court the former NSW player did not mean to harm the woman.

“He was trying to please her, sexually. But it ended really badly,” he said in his closing address.

“It caused her a lot of pain, discomfort and grief. And to be frank his sexual prowess turned out to be terrible.”

Mr Boulten said it was not a “big step” for the woman to have later remembered the encounter with Mr Hayne as being “nasty”, “uncaring” or forceful, given the injuries she sustained.

“It was bad sex,” he said.

Mr Boulten said it was unlikely the woman would have complained of sexual assault without the presence of blood.

“(She) was very upset about her injuries. And that’s really why we’re all here.”

He urged the jury to treat Mr Hayne “the same as someone who’s not famous … please don’t treat him differently because he’s a very good footballer”.

Crown prosecutor Brian Costello on Wednesday told the jury the woman’s “significant” injuries and bleeding painted a “vivid picture” of a rough sexual assault.

He said Mr Hayne believed he had been “promised” sex in the explicit Instagram and Snapchat messages and “simply ignored” whether she was consenting.

In his summing up, Judge Peter Whitford SC told jurors on Thursday to put aside any sympathy they had for Mr Hayne and the woman.

“You need to determine these matters in a rational and calm way in relation to the evidence,” he said.

The jury is set to retire on Thursday to consider its verdict.

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Australian News

Jarryd Hayne trial: Day 6 updates, sexual assault trial from Newcastle Court

Ex-NRL superstar Jarryd Hayne has told a court that the woman who has accused him of sexual assault is “full of shit”.

The former Parramatta fullback is on trial at Newcastle District Court fighting allegations he forced himself on the woman, then 26, after arranging to go to her house the night of the 2018 NRL grand final.

The court has heard the woman suffered two lacerations to her genitalia when Mr Hayne, 32, allegedly pulled off her pants and began digital and oral sex on her as a taxi waited outside her Fletcher home.

Mr Hayne claims the sex was consensual and the woman’s injuries were caused by a stray fingernail.

During a fiery cross-examination from Crown Prosecutor Brian Costello on Tuesday, Mr Hayne said he felt like he was “on repeat” having to answer the same question about what force he used when he says he inserted his fingers into the woman’s vagina.

He said he couldn’t “judge force” but “started slow and went faster”.

“I was going fast that’s all I can really explain … I didn’t have a radar on that night I’m sorry,” he said.

Mr Costello asked if he was being “gentle” or “rough” with his fingers.

Mr Hayne then snapped back: “Oh mate, they were in her vagina”.

The court was played for the second time intercepted phone calls from 2018 in which Mr Hayne told Newcastle captain Mitchell Pearce the woman was a “full blown weirdo”.

Mr Costello asked Mr Hayne if he felt that way because the accusation could impact on his career.

“I was fuming because she was full of shit,” Mr Hayne replied.

Mr Hayne had been in Newcastle that night to attend a buck’s party for a former Fiji teammate.

The court heard that a $550 taxi was arranged for Mr Hayne to travel back to Sydney but he made a pit stop at the woman’s home after the pair exchanged explicit messages on Instagram.

Mr Costello put to Mr Hayne that he kept the taxi outside because he only wanted “sex, and the quicker the better”.

The former NRL star denied this.

But he agreed the woman had been “upset” about the taxi being there and that she told him she didn’t “want to have sex”.

He said he instead initiated kissing and oral sex because he “thought she’d like it”.

He denied that she told him to stop.

The court also heard that a $50 note was seen on the bed when the complainant returned from a shower to wash blood off herself after suffering the injury.

Mr Hayne asked “is that yours?” before pocketing the note when she said no, the court heard.

Mr Costello questioned whether the $50 note was an attempt to “bribe her silence” or make her “feel better”.

Mr Hayne refuted this and said it must have fallen out of his pocket while he was lying on the bed.

“I’m assuming when I took my phone out,” he said.

Mr Hayne told the court he went to the woman’s house believing there was “potential” for sex and admitted that he saw her as a “fling”.

The court has previously heard that when he arrived, he asked if she wanted to have a “singalong” before using her laptop to play “two or three” songs including an Ed Sheeran cover of the Oasis classic ‘Wonderwall’.

On Tuesday he was read part of the lyrics to the song and asked if it was an attempt to “seduce” the woman.

Mr Hayne said it was merely one of his “go-to” songs he used to “break the ice” in an awkward situation.

The prosecutor then made the blunt accusation that the star athlete had “made up lies as part of your evidence to explain away bits of your evidence”.

“I don’t understand what you think I’m lying about,” Mr Hayne replied.

The trial continues.

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Local News - Victoria

Victorians free to enter QLD from today, on 32nd day of no new COVID-19 cases

The first plane-load of Victorians free to travel in Queensland with no restrictions landed in Brisbane just after 9am on Tuesday, as Victoria celebrated 32 consecutive days of no new coronavirus cases.

The flight arrivals mark the end of a nearly five-month hiatus of any exemption-free travel from Victoria to Queensland.

South Australia also reopened its borders to Victorians from midnight, although Victorians will still be required to fill out a form and get pre-approval before entering SA.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced last week that Victorians and Sydneysiders would finally be free to enter her state from December 1, after months of strict controls.

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Local News - Victoria

State records 29th consecutive day of zero new COVID-19 cases

On Saturday morning Premier Daniel Andrews published a friendly reminder on Facebook that face coverings are still required inside enclosed areas, and in situations where people cannot socially distance.


“Good morning to everyone except those wearing their mask under their nose at the supermarket,” the post said.

It could be months before Melburnians can return to the office en masse, with epidemiologists cautioning against unleashing the city’s entire workforce until it is clear why fragments of the virus continue to surface in wastewater.

Particles of the virus were detected this week in wastewater collected in Geelong’s north, causing concern among health officials as there have been no recent cases in the area.

Viral fragments have also been detected in wastewater in Altona, Benalla and Portland in recent weeks, but increased testing of residents and visitors in these areas has failed to reveal anyone with the virus.

“Before we consider opening up any further we need to know more about that residual virus being detected in the sewerage water,” University of Melbourne epidemiologist John Mathews said.

“In my view, the government are being too tight-lipped about it and we need more extensive information about why this is occurring,” Professor Mathews said.

People who have had coronavirus may shed the virus or virus fragments for several weeks in their stool, well beyond their infectious period.

Burnet Institute epidemiologist Mike Toole said traces of the virus in sewage water should be closely examined, but are not a cause for alarm.

“They have never found a full virus that is infectious and nobody has ever been infected by one of those fragments,” Professor Toole said, noting in China fragments of the virus have even been found on packets of frozen food, some which have travelled from Latin America.

Of all the human pathogens that have circulated the world in recent history, only smallpox has officially been deemed to have been eradicated globally, he said.

For measles, the World Health Organisation demands no community transmission for at least 36 months for it to be classed as eliminated.

Experts have also warned coronavirus has frequently re-emerged in states and countries where it was believed to have been eliminated, including New Zealand, which discovered a new cluster after being virus-free for 102 days.

South Australia had also seemingly eliminated the virus before it leaked out of hotel quarantine. South Korea, Vietnam, Israel and Hong Kong also experienced a spike in cases following months of low-level community transmission.

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Sydney councils scrap Australia Day plans due to COVID-19

Multiple Sydney councils have been accused of using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to scrap Australia Day events.

NSW has recorded 16 days in a row of no locally transmitted coronavirus cases but some councils have already said Australia Day plans won’t be going ahead due to the risk of spreading the virus.

Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool and The Hills are some of the Sydney councils that have cancelled some of their upcoming events for January 26 due to COVID-19.

This is despite the National Australia Day Council offering grants of up to $20,000 to help councils increase COVID safety measures so events can go ahead.

RELATED: Follow our live coronavirus updates

RELATED: When Aussies can go overseas again

The Inner West and North Sydney councils also won’t be going ahead with some of their Australia Day events.

Liberal MP Craig Kelly has lashed out at these councils, claiming they were using COVID-19 as an excuse not to hold Australia Day events.

“This just complete nonsense. We know there are so many bureaucrats around the place that just love to cancel things and ban things,” he told 2GB’s Ben Fordham.

“We also know there are many people that actually don’t want Australia Day and are looking for an excuse to cancel it.”

Mr Kelly said NSW’s success in suppressing the virus meant there was not excuse for councils not to be holding these outdoor events.

“We’ve got to get on with life. We just can’t continue to suspend all these things. If we had coronavirus infections like they do in America maybe there would be some argument there,” he said.

“But we have had zero infections in NSW in the last 15 days and we know from past evidence that the coronavirus is a seasonal virus, infections are very low in summertime anyway.

“These are outdoor events, there is no excuse to ban them. These local councils need to be called out. It is just nonsense and petty, foggy bureaucracy.”

RELATED: The real significance of Australia Day

Cumberland City mayor Steve Christou echoed these thoughts, labelling the decisions being made by some councils as “un-Australian”.

“I think the decision taken by some councils to cancel their Australia Day events is completely unacceptable and frankly un-Australian, particularly if the events can be hosted in a COVID-safe manner,” The Sydney Morning Heraldreported him as saying.

The publication revealed the usual pool parties and concert held by City of Canterbury Bankstown to celebrate Australia Day wouldn’t go ahead this year due to not being “essential”.

A council spokeswoman told the outlet the Australia Day Awards and citizenship event would still go ahead but would be a “scaled back seated event with tight COVID controls and no catering”.

Liverpool City Council’s outdoor Australia Day 2021 event won’t be going ahead but there was the possibility of a virtual celebration being held.

The Sydney Morning Herald also reported the Hills Shire Council had cancelled its Australia Day concert but an awards and citizenship ceremony would still be held. has contacted Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool and The Hills councils for comment.

North Sydney’s BBQ by the Bridge Australia Day event also won’t be taking place, but this is reportedly due to major Harbour Bridge works where the event is held.

This will be the second year in a row the Inner West Council won’t hold an Australia Day event on January 26 after the council voted in 2019 to scrap the celebration.

Residents were instead encouraged to attend the Aboriginal Yabun festival held that day.

“Attitudes towards 26 January are changing in the community,” Mayor Darcy Byrne said at the time.

“For Aboriginal people, the date represents the beginning of colonisation, dispossession, the removal of children and deliberate destruction of language and culture.

“A growing number of Australians want that to be respectfully acknowledged.”

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Local News - Victoria

Victoria records no new cases of coronavirus, 24th day in a row

Victorians woke to renewed freedoms on Monday morning. Masks are no longer mandatory outdoors and Victorians can now travel freely into New South Wales.

NSW reopened its border to Victoria at midnight allowing people (and dogs) to travel in freely for the first time since July.

NSW reopened its border to Victoria at midnight allowing people (and dogs) to travel in freely for the first time since July.Credit:Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce believes his airline will return to 60 per cent of pre-COVID domestic flight numbers before Christmas, as the world’s second most popular flight path in the world (Melbourne-Sydney) officially re-opens to the public today.

“It’s gone from one flight a day in the… last few months, then to seven a day and it’s a step up today and we’re seeing massive demand already occurring,” he told ABC Radio National’s Breakfast program.

“When the news of the borders opening up happened, both Qantas and Jetstar sold 25,0000 seats on Melbourne-Sydney alone in the space of 24 hours.”

Mr Joyce said Jetstar had also clocked its biggest day of sale activity ever since the announcement, with 120,000 seats again in a 24 hour period.


Qantas and Jetstar would likely resume 60 per cent of pre-COVID domestic flight levels before Christmas depending on whether Queensland re-opened borders, Mr Joyce said.

“Then in the new year we start getting towards 100 per cent.”

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Local News - Victoria

Victoria records 0 COVID-19 cases for 20th consecutive day, SA lockdown begins

In measures tougher than those imposed during Victoria’s second coronavirus lockdown, South Australians are now restricted from leaving their homes and banned from all outdoor exercise until next Tuesday. Only one person per household is allowed to undertake essential activities such as shopping each day.

South Australia’s outbreak – seeded, like Victoria’s second wave, at a quarantine hotel – grew by two cases to a total of 22 on Wednesday, with seven suspected cases awaiting test results and more than 4000 close contacts in quarantine or self-isolation.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the federal government supported the severe lockdown in South Australia, but disputed the assertion that support was in contrast to the rhetoric towards the Victorian government during that state’s second-wave lockdown.

“With great respect, that’s an incorrect representation,” he said to ABC Radio Adelaide host David Bevan.


Mr Hunt took aim at the length of the second Victorian lockdown, and the disputed point that Victoria refused Australian Defence Force assistance.

“We wanted Victoria to go hard and go early and we did the absolute best to get the Australian Defence Force in, not just at the start in March but again in June and July,” he said.

“When the Victorian response had gone on for 100 days of lockdown, not six days, we were deeply concerned about mental health.”

South Australian authorities said the unprecedented lockdown measures were designed to be a “circuit-breaker” to halt any major spread of the virus.

But Dr Thompson said he believed six days may not be long enough to be effective, as COVID-19 could take as long as 14 days to incubate in a person’s body.

“I think it’s slightly on the short side to be perfectly honest,” he said.

People queuing at Woolworths at West Torrens in Adelaide on Wednesday.

People queuing at Woolworths at West Torrens in Adelaide on Wednesday.Credit:Getty

“If you’re only aiming for one incubation period, you’re losing your margin for error.”

Dr Thompson said while it was encouraging that South Australia was taking lessons from how Victoria’s deadly second wave unfolded, he questioned the need for the entire state to be locked down as all cases had so far been isolated to metropolitan Adelaide.

“I would probably suggest they’re being extremely harsh by doing that,” he said.

Despite South Australia’s extraordinary restrictions, residents are still able to fly interstate to Victoria.

Two flights from Adelaide and Mt Gambier are due to arrive in Melbourne on Thursday, with all passengers to be health screened.

Those from metropolitan Adelaide will be required to undergo a COVID-19 test and isolate until their results are returned, while regional South Australians are free to enter the state without a test if they have no symptoms.


Truck drivers entering Victoria from South Australia on the Western Highway are being tested at Nhill, 60 kilometres east of the border.

Drivers will be able to continue their journey after their fast-tracked results are sent to them, according to Victoria’s health department.

There is no mandatory health screening for any other residents driving across the land border into Victoria, but the Victorian government has urged South Australians to cancel all non-essential travel.

“Most of the traffic across the border is border communities … [so] we put resources where there is the greatest risk,” deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said on Wednesday.

Premier Daniel Andrews said truck drivers who refused a test would be turned around, and anyone refusing a test arriving by air would be required to quarantine for 14 days.

“There is no reason to refuse a test,” he said.

Presuming Victoria’s run of zero cases continues, Mr Andrews will announce a further relaxation of coronavirus restrictions on Sunday. Victorians are expected to be allowed to have 10 people in their homes, up to 50 people may be allowed to gather in public and hospitality venues could be able to host 100 customers indoors and 200 outdoors.

Mr Andrews has also flagged that Victorians may no longer have to wear face masks outdoors where people are socially distanced from others.

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