Rape accused Jack de Belin free to play NRL
NSW State of Origin player Jack de Belin has pleaded not guilty to raping a woman in company with his friend.
The 27-year-old was charged with aggravated sexual assault in company after the alleged attack on a 19-year-old woman in a Wollongong unit in the early hours of December 9.
De Belin entered his not guilty plea at Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday before the matter was adjourned to April 17.
The St George Illawarra Dragons lock successfully had his bail varied so he doesn't need to report to police every Monday and Friday.
The magistrate added an additional condition that De Belin does not enter any international point of departure aside from travelling on an airport train line. "The proceedings have to take their course in the usual way and there's really nothing more he can say," de Belin's barrister, David Robert Campbell SC, told reporters outside court.
"Obviously, it was an essential (bail) variation because he wouldn't be able to continue playing football with the team, pursuant to his contract, if we didn't get it."
De Belin's friend, Callan Sinclair, is fighting the same charge. Neither man commented as they left court on Tuesday.
The sexual assault offence carries a maximum penalty of 20 years behind bars.
The 27-year-old from Cootamundra featured in all three games on the 2018 State of Origin series and was integral to the Blues' 2-1 win.
He made his first grade debut with St George Illawarra in 2011 and has been with the NRL club since.