St George Illawarra Dragons player Jack de Belin facing upgraded rape charge

Jack de Belin leaves Wollongong Local Court in May after his lawyer, Robert Foster, mentioned the case on his behalf. Picture: Adam McLean
Jack de Belin leaves Wollongong Local Court in May after his lawyer, Robert Foster, mentioned the case on his behalf. Picture: Adam McLean

St George Illawarra Dragons player Jack De Belin is potentially facing life behind bars if convicted of a newly laid sexual assault charge which will be aired in court for the first time on Wednesday.

The Mercury can reveal prosecutors have finalised which charges will proceed against de Belin and his co-accused, Shellharbour Sharks player Callan Sinclair, who are alleged to have jointly raped a woman inside a Wollongong apartment block last December.

The pair will face trial on four counts of aggravated sexual assault in company, as well as a fifth and freshly laid charge of aggravated sexual assault in company causing actual bodily harm.

The latter charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while the former charges each carry 20 years.

The Mercury understands de Belin and Sinclair's cases will be committed for trial in Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday morning, seven months after detectives first charged the footballers with a single count each of aggravated sexual assault in company.

Additional charges were laid against the pair at a court appearance in May and now more have been added following a review of the case by representatives of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Callan Sinclair and Jack de Belin are expected to be committed for trial when they face Wollongong Local Court on Wedensday.

Callan Sinclair and Jack de Belin are expected to be committed for trial when they face Wollongong Local Court on Wedensday.

It is understood each of the charges relate to individual acts alleged to have been committed by de Belin and Sinclair during the same sexual encounter that gave rise to the original charge.

A set of police facts previously sighted by the Mercury said de Belin and Sinclair met the alleged victim at Mr Crown nightclub on the evening of December 8, where they talked as part of a larger group.

It is alleged the woman accompanied De Belin and Sinclair to an apartment in Gipps Street so the two men could "charge their phones".

Once inside the apartment, de Belin allegedly grabbed hold of the woman, forcibly removed her clothing and pinned her on the bed with his right forearm before allegedly raping her.

Sinclair allegedly silently watched on until de Belin said to him "come have a go".

It is alleged the pair then engaged in the joint rape of the woman.

Police allege De Belin continued to rape the woman, at times putting his hand around her throat, making it hard for her to breathe.

Afterwards, the woman said she had a shower before ordering the trio an Uber to take them to Fever Nightclub. She said she left soon after they arrived, and contacted a friend.

She then went to Wollongong Hospital where she underwent a rape test. Police allege she had injuries to her legs, neck, lower abdomen and shoulder.

Meanwhile, de Belin was stood down by the NRL in February after his first court appearance, becoming the first player sanctioned under the game's new 'no-fault' stand-down policy.

The policy stipulates that players facing serious charges - carrying 11 years imprisonment or more - will be automatically stood-down from playing until their court process has concluded.

De Belin failed in his first legal challenge of the no-fault policy in the Federal Court in May, with the court ruling in the NRL's favour ensuring he remains stood down until the conclusion of the criminal case.

He has appealed that decision while he continues to train fulltime with the Dragons.