Sidelined St George Illawarra star Jack de Belin has abandoned his Federal Court appeal over the NRL’s contentious no-fault stand-down policy.
The appeal by the 28-year-old, who has pleaded not guilty to four charges of aggravated sexual assault in company and one charge of aggravated sexual assault in company causing actual body harm, was due to begin in the Federal Court on Thursday.
But his barrister Arthur Moses SC told the judges the parties had reached an agreement and the appeal would be discontinued, after a judge on Monday set de Belin’s rape trial down for March – before the start of the 2020 NRL season.
The ARLC introduced their no-fault stand down policy for players charged with serious criminal offences earlier this year after a controversy-filled off-season for the NRL, with de Belin the first player to be indefinitely suspended under the policy.
He had contested the ARLC’s no-fault stand-down policy in court, claiming it ignored his right to a presumption of innocence, while also disputing the negative commercial impact of player misbehaviour on the NRL as claimed by the commission.
That legal challenge ended today, however, with De Belin’s legal team withdrawing their Federal Court appeal to the June ruling in favour of the ARLC.
The ARLC released a statement, which reads as follows.
The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) and the National Rugby League (NRL) welcome the withdrawal by Jack de Belin of his appeal concerning the NRL’s no‑fault stand down rule.
The NRL’s no-fault stand down rule introduced in March 2019 and confirmed by the Federal Court in May continues to apply.
The Commission and the NRL take very seriously our responsibility to protect the reputation of the Game and its stakeholders.
We have always held the view that the no-fault stand down rule is in the best interests of the Game and are pleased that the legal challenge to this rule has now been concluded.
We continue to work with the Club to monitor the welfare of Mr de Belin.