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Jury to rule on consent in Kurtley Beale rape case

Duncan Murray -

Whether or not a woman consented to sexual intercourse with rugby star Kurtley Beale will be a central decision for jurors as the footballer's rape trial nears its conclusion.

After a week-and-a-half of evidence, crown prosecutor Jeff Tunks began his closing address on Wednesday before the jury retires to make its decision later in the week.

Beale, 35, is facing one count of sexual intercourse without consent and two counts of sexual touching in the NSW District Court, following an exchange at Bondi's Beach Road Hotel in December, 2022.

He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, alleges Beale touched her backside and forced her to perform oral sex in the men's toilet cubicle.

Beale's lawyer Margaret Cunneen suggested during the trial that the woman willingly initiated sex with Beale to get back at her fiance, with whom she was having relationship issues.

But Mr Tunks invited the jury to find the woman was "staunchly consistent" in saying that she did not consent to any sexual activity with Beale.

He said they must also ask themselves whether Beale was "reckless as to whether she consented or not".

Mr Tunks added the jury might have found the woman's evidence to have had a "somewhat defiant" or "combative" tone, particularly during cross-examination.

"Whether you found her evidence to be appealing or likeable is not the point," he said.

Jurors were asked to keep in mind the circumstances of the woman's testimony after she was forced to divulge "extremely private and delicate aspects of her personal life".

"She sat in this courtroom, in that witness box, in a room full of strangers," Mr Tunks said.

"She was asked to describe sexual acts to that group of strangers."

Throughout her nearly four days of evidence, the woman was grilled on a range of factors including her choice of outfit on the night and use of drugs and alcohol.

"You might think of course in 2024 what someone chooses to wear on a night out is not an issue in a criminal trial," Mr Tunks said.

The prosecution case closed on Tuesday with a call between Beale and his long-time manager, Issac Moses, in which the former Wallaby admitted: "I messed up."

"A bird rang me out of the blue, saying she's a little bit upset because I just misread the whole situation ... and she performed oral sex on me," Beale said.

"But she's like 'I didn't really consent to that action', blah blah blah."

Beale said in the call that he believed the exchange was consensual.

Mr Moses, who had managed Beale since he was 18, told the court his past experience dealing with players facing criminal charges informed how he handled the call.

"I just didn't want Kurtley to be misunderstood or misconstrued in what he said," he said.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028

Duncan Murray - AAP


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