The mother of NRL star Jack de Belin has slammed the legal system and NSW Police for their handling of his rape case and claimed officers were responsible for making it impossible for him to get a fair trial.
Cathy de Belin acknowledges the St George Illawarra Dragons forward, 31, behaved immorally after cheating on his long-term partner Alyce Taylor – but in Mrs de Belin’s eyes, her son was hung out to dry when he was charged with sexual assault following a night out on the NSW south coast in December 2018.
De Belin and his co-accused Callan Sinclair were acquitted after a second trial when the jury was unable to reach a verdict on four of the charges and found both men not guilty on another charge.
The woman involved in the alleged incident – who was 19 at the time – claimed she was a victim of sexual assault.
Mrs De Belin and Callan Sinclair’s mother Gai initially felt the sorry episode was a misunderstanding that would be resolved by investigating police.
It quickly emerged that wouldn’t be the case.
The mother of NRL star Jack de Belin has lashed out at the legal system and NSW police for their handling of his rape case, believing it was impossible for the footballer to get a fair trial
De Belin and his co-accused Callan Sinclair (pictured right) faced two trials and were eventually acquitted, with both men adamant the sexual encounter was consensual
‘These boys were assumed guilty from the start,’ Gai Sinclair told the Daily Telegraph. ‘We feel strongly that at no point was the truth of the matter ever in play.’
Mrs de Belin soon formed the view the police were after a ‘big fish’ in the form of her famous footballer son.
During the trials it emerged police had allegedly viewed text messages – and made copies – from de Belin’s phone to his legal representative, Craig Osborne, a Dragons board member and partner at RMB lawyers.
When Mr Sinclair had his home raided and his iPhone seized, he later discovered emails from his Gmail account to his legal team had allegedly been viewed by police.
Detective Senior Constable Shawn Adams admitted under oath in the 2021 retrial at Sydney’s Downing Centre that he had viewed De Belin’s digital conversation with Mr Osborne.
Senior Constable Adams was also granted a Section 128 certificate, which protected him from self incrimination.
De Belin was advised not to talk to police by his legal team and is relieved he kept quiet, as he firmly believes ‘they would have twisted his words’. Sinclair (pictured, front) has declared he now doesn’t trust police
Cathy de Belin acknowledges the St George Illawarra Dragons forward, 31, behaved immorally after cheating on his long-term partner Alyce Taylor (pictured together) – but in Mrs de Belin’s eyes, her son was hung out to dry when he was charged with sexual assault in 2018
De Belin’s lawyers argued the viewing of the legally privileged material had the potential to affect the trial, with his barrister David Campbell arguing in court: ‘We don’t know how far the poison has spread.’
Initially, Wollongong District Court Judge Haesler was so unimpressed with how police handled the early part of the investigation that he nearly threw out the case.
In the end he decided to proceed with the first trial – but was scathing about the conduct of police.
He went onto accuse Senior Constable Adams of acting with ‘reckless disregard’ for legal professional privilege and felt he should have ‘benched himself’ from the investigation.
Following the acquittal of De Belin and Sinclair, police launched an internal investigation into the handling of the case – with Adams the sole officer in the spotlight.
The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) is overseeing the investigation, who are still ‘looking into’ the matter.
The episode cost De Belin in excess of $1million in legal fees – and he is eternally grateful to the Dragons for sticking by him
De Belin (pictured with Alyce Taylor) refuses to be bitter, and is keen to move on, as is Sinclair
It has also since been revealed police failed to take notes when interviewing their key witness – and another witness who spoke to officers was later not disclosed to the defence team.
He went onto speak in court, providing testimony.
De Belin himself was advised not to talk to police by his legal team and is relieved he kept quiet, as he firmly believes ‘they would have twisted his words.’
Sinclair agreed, with the saga seeing him ‘lose all faith in the honesty of police.’
Additionally, Terry Sinclair, Callan’s father, remains furious at what unfolded and said the police involved need to be accountable, particularly Senior Constable Adams, who admitted to lying under oath.
The saga cost De Belin in excess of $1million in legal fees – and he is eternally grateful to the Dragons for sticking by him.
Despite what unfolded both men refuse to be bitter, and are keen to move on.