Former Australian rugby league international Jarryd Hayne had his rape conviction overturned on appeal on Wednesday and was released after spending a year in jail, although he could face a fourth trial.


The former rugby player, who was capped 12 times by Australia and four times by Fiji, where his father hails from, as well as representing Fiji in rugby sevens, was granted bail on Wednesday without opposition. 

The case is due to return to the state's District Court at the end of July, when prosecutors will give an update on whether they will proceed with a possible fourth trial.

Known outside Australia for his brief NFL career in the United States, he was jailed for four years and nine months in May last year after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman at her home on the night of the 2018 National Rugby League grand final.

The New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal ruled that a trial judge erred in not allowing the complainant to be cross-examined during Hayne's trial.

The Sydney-based appeal court also ruled that the trial judge did not properly instruct the jury on how to deal with allegations that the complainant had lied. Justice Graham Turnbull, who presided over the trial, refused applications to cross-examine the woman about the statement, saying it carried "almost infinitesimal weight". Hayne consistently denied the allegation and, in a split decision, the New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal overturned his conviction.

Jarryd Hayne arrives, surrounded by supporters, at Newcastle District Court on 06 May 2021 in Australia. GETTY IMAGES
Jarryd Hayne arrives, surrounded by supporters, at Newcastle District Court on 06 May 2021 in Australia. GETTY IMAGES


His appeal succeeded on the grounds that a judge had erred in prohibiting further cross-examination during the trial, the decision said. The court also cited an instruction to the jury on how to deal with allegations that the woman had lied. It is now up to the Director of Public Prosecutions to decide whether he should be retried a fourth time.

The case against the former Parramatta Eels star and 2009 and 2014 National Rugby League Player of the Year has seen some unusual developments.

Hayne's first trial in 2020 ended with the jury being discharged after failing to reach a majority verdict. He was convicted in the second trial in 2021 and served nine months of a five-year, nine-month sentence. This conviction was overturned on appeal in 2022 (and he was released), leading to a third trial.

Born in Sydney on 15 February 1988, he spent the last year in prison after a jury convicted him of two counts of sexual intercourse without consent in April 2023, after an earlier guilty verdict was overturned on appeal.

Hayne gained international fame when he attempted a career in the NFL as a kick returner and running back in 2015, but found only fleeting success during a difficult first season with the San Francisco 49ers. He made eight appearances, gaining 79 yards and scoring no touchdowns.