The Law and Penalties for Aggravated Sexual Assault in Company


27-year-old Jack De Belin, a St George Illawarra rugby league player and friend, Callan Sinclair have both now been charged with aggravated sexual assault in company offences.

About 6-days ago, Jack De Belin attended the Wollongong police station where he was charged.

On Monday, his friend, Sinclair was subsequently visited and arrested at a residential address when he was then taken to the Wollongong police station where he was also charged with the same offence.

It is reported that shortly after midnight on Sunday 9 December, De Belin and Sinclair were allegedly involved in sexual acts involving a nineteen-year-old woman in a residential unit located in Wollongong, after both men had gone on a night out on an annual Santa Pub Crawl.

It is reported that both men had met her at a venue on Crown St. From there its alleged that all 3 took a taxi to a residential apartment where the men allegedly told her that they would get changed.

Its reported that the woman then went upstairs to the apartment to use the bathroom. After using the bathroom, she allegedly saw De Belin and Sinclair naked before being allegedly sexually assaulted.

De Belin and Sinclair were both granted bail and are due to appear at the Wollongong Local Court on 12 February 2019.

After he signed with the St George Illawarra team in two thousand and eleven, De Belin had played 8 seasons. He was born in Cootamundra, NSW, and as a junior he played for the Cootamundra Bulldogs junior club.

De Belin was a member of the Laurie Daley’s extended squad in 2017, and trained with the NSW Side. He didn’t make his debut last year after Daley stayed with the same 17 across all 3 Origin fixtures in 2017.

The Dragons club have said that they are taking this “very seriously”.

“Jack has been provided with welfare support to enable him the time and opportunity to deal with the matter. As this is a police matter to be considered by the court, the club is not in a position to make any further comment at this time.”

His friend Sinclair, 21, is a lower grade rugby league player for the Shellharbour Sharks.

Meanwhile, impacting on the integrity of rugby league in Australia, 30-year-old former Parramatta Eels rugby leagues football player, Jarryd Hayne has also been charged with aggravated sexual assault towards a 26-year-old woman who has also been granted bail and due to appear at the Burwood Local Court.

The Law and Penalties for Aggravated Sexual Assault in Company in NSW

Anyone who is guilty of committing the offence of aggravated sexual assault in company will face a penalty of up to life imprisonment under section 61JA of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

This offence is also considered a ‘standard non-parole period’ offence. This means that, if an offender guilty of this offence falls in the mid-range of objective seriousness for this offence, the Judge on sentence will consider imposing the standard 15-years non-parole period of imprisonment, being the term an offender must spend in jail before being eligible for release back into the community on parole.

The standard non-parole period is to be used by Judges as a guide in the same kind of way that the maximum penalty is used as a consideration and guide at reaching an appropriate sentence.

Before you can be guilty of this offence, the prosecution must first prove beyond reasonable doubt, each of the following elements of this crime:

  1. You had sexual intercourse with the victim; and
  2. This occurred without the victim’s consent; and
  3. You had known that the victim didn’t consent; and
  4. It occurred in ‘circumstances of aggravation’; and
  5. At the time, you were also in the company of another person

Sexual intercourse includes sexual penetration of the genitalia or anus by any body part of another person. It includes penetration of the lips, or licking or sucking of the genitalia.

Under the law, you are taken to have known that the victim didn’t consent if either one of the following situations are proven in court:

  1. You knew that there was no consent by the victim; or
  2. If you raise the defence that you honestly believed on reasonable grounds that there was consent- you will be taken to have known that you knew there wasn’t consent if the Court finds that there wasn’t a reasonable basis to have believed that there was consent; or
  3. You were reckless on the issue of whether or not there was consent in either one of the following ways:
    • You had sexual intercourse without caring if the victim consented; or
    • You turned your mind to the possibility that the victim wasn’t consenting; or
    • You didn’t even take your mind as to whether the victim was consenting.

‘Circumstances of aggravation’ includes any one or more of the following circumstances:

  1. You also deprived the victim of his/her liberty either before or after the sexual assault; or
  2. You either intentionally or recklessly caused the victim ‘actual bodily harm’ at the time of the sexual assault; or
  3. You threatened to cause ‘actual bodily harm’ to the victim with the use of an ‘offensive weapon or instrument at the time of the sexual assault.

Some defences to this offence include, duress or necessity, where you had reasonably grounds for believing that the victim consented, there was consent by the victim or where no sexual intercourse actually took place which can be assisted in the absence of any DNA evidence if DNA swabs of the victim was conducted immediately or soon after the alleged incident.

About Jimmy Singh

Mr. Jimmy Singh is the Principal Lawyer at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia - Leading Criminal Lawyers in Sydney, Delivering Exceptional Results in all Australian Criminal Courts.


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