Star’s accuser ‘laughed’ after alleged rape
A woman was seen on CCTV chatting and laughing as she walked to a nightclub with NRL star Jack de Belin and friend Callan Sinclair just minutes after she claimed they raped her, a court has been told.
The St George Illawarra Dragons forward and Mr Sinclair stand accused of sexually assaulting the woman, then 19, after the trio met on the dancefloor of Wollongong's popular Mr Crown bar in December 2018.
Mr de Belin, 30, and Mr Sinclair, 24, have both pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated sexual assault and maintain the encounter with the woman was consensual.
Their District Court trial has been told of allegations from the woman that she felt "dead inside" and was crying as the men swapped positions having vaginal, oral and anal sex with her at a North Wollongong unit.
During day three of the trial on Friday, the jury watched a prerecorded cross-examination of the woman by Mr de Belin's barrister David Campbell SC, who played CCTV footage taken in the early hours of December 9, 2018.
The court has been told that after the alleged rape at a Gipps Street unit owned by Mr de Belin's cousin, the woman was handed $50 and told to order an Uber to a nightclub in town.
She claimed in her evidence that she was "trying to act tough" but was "scared" deep down during the journey to Fever nightclub, where she slipped away from the men while in the line.
Mr Campbell put to the woman that she "lied" when telling the court the men walked behind her on the way and she only kept going to the club "because I couldn't get away from them".
In the CCTV footage the trio are dropped in front of Heyday nightclub and begin to walk towards Fever down Crown Street at about 2am.
Mr de Belin leads the way and stops to have photos taken with fans, while the woman and Mr Sinclair lag behind walking side-by-side.
The woman apperars to be laughing and chatting, with Mr Campbell saying the footage is not a "depiction of a woman who doesn't want to be where she is with the people she's with".
"You were happy to be there and you were happy to be with them, weren't you?" he asked the woman.
The woman, who can't be named, claimed in her reply that she "played along and laughed" because she "needed to feel safe" and did not want to draw attention to herself.
"I was a victim. I was trying to protect myself … until I could get away," she claimed.
Mr Campbell put to her that she had left out these details from her police statement because it didn't support her case.
The woman denied the accusation and said she had been "suffering from a traumatic experience" and couldn't remember all of the details from the night. The court was told she had never seen the footage before.
Mr Campbell suggested to the woman that if she had been "violated in the way you say half an hour before you would not be presenting in a picture like that".
The woman reiterated her claim that she was trying to act normal in the hope of "protecting my own safety".
She later snapped at a line of questioning by Mr Campbell over what time she ordered an Uber home after he suggested she claimed not to remember out of "convenience".
"What happened that night in that room I remember … it was quite horrific. Two years down the track I still don't get to sleep because of it," she said.
The trial continues before Judge Nicole Noman.
Originally published as Star's accuser 'laughed' after alleged rape