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Rugby star Kurtley Beale cleared of raping woman

Duncan Murray -

Over two weeks, a trial has heard graphic and intimate details of the night Kurtley Beale was accused of raping a woman in the bathroom of a Sydney pub.

In the end, it took a jury two hours to find the rugby star not guilty of all charges.

The former Wallaby playmaker was cleared of one count of sexual intercourse without consent and two counts of sexual touching.

The verdicts, handed down in the NSW District Court on Friday, prompted tears and sighs of relief from those present to support Beale, including his wife Maddi.

Beale, who was seated in the dock as the verdicts were delivered hung his head in an apparent show of relief.

Speaking outside the court, the 35-year-old said the allegations had taken a major toll on him and his family.

"I've always maintained my innocence," Beale told reporters.

"My family and I have suffered a terrible year and I'm so glad that the truth has come out."

Beale's lawyer, Margaret Cunneen SC, said justice was done with the decision.

The rugby international was charged in January 2023 after the woman told police he touched her buttocks and forced her to perform oral sex in a toilet cubicle at Bondi's Beach Road Hotel the previous month.

But the jury rejected the woman's account that Beale followed her into the cubicle of the men's toilet, removed his penis from his pants and forced it into her mouth.

A secretly recorded phone call captured the moment the woman confronted Beale with the allegations, prompting him to apologise, saying he had "misread the situation".

"I'm so sorry I made you feel like this I misjudged the whole situation," Beale said.

"Now I'm f***ing nervous."

Ms Cunneen told the jury detectives had believed Beale's response to be "game, set and match" in proving his guilt.

But, she said, on the contrary it showed Beale had been under the belief his interaction with the woman was consensual.

During the trial, Ms Cunneen labelled the alleged victim "manipulative" and asserted she had concocted the alleged rape as a way of gaining sympathy from her fiance.

Crown prosecutor Jeff Tunks invited the jury to accept the woman's version of events that Beale engaged sexually with her despite her repeatedly telling him "no".

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said during the trial she was using the men's toilets to avoid queues at the women's when Beale entered and locked the cubicle.

She said she looked up to see Beale holding his penis and shaking it up and down while saying "suck my dick", to which she replied "no" over and over.

The woman claimed the rugby star then grabbed her head and thrust his penis forcefully into her mouth.

One of the charges of sexual touching - rejected by the jury - was an allegation that Beale placed his hands on the woman's hips while they were still in the cubicle and turned her around while saying, "Come on, let's f***."

The other sexual touching charge, on which Beale was also found not guilty, asserted he touched the woman on the backside before the pair were in the cubicle together.

The woman said she was with friends and her fiance at the venue when she felt a hand move down her buttocks onto "bare skin".

"I turn around and realise it's Mr Beale," she told the jury.

Crown prosecutor Jeff Tunks conceded there were inconsistencies in the version of events the woman gave to family members and police.

However, he asked them to consider how she was acting and whether that was consistent with someone who had been the victim of a sexual assault.

"It's clear that she gives different accounts, different aspects, to different people," Mr Tunks told the jury.

"Unlawful sexual contact may affect people in different ways."

Beale is expected to apply for costs to help cover his legal expenses.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028

Duncan Murray - AAP

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