The scandals that have rocked the NRL pre-season

Cops in de Belin rape case did not take proper notes: court

Detectives in the Jack de Belin sexual assault investigation have been accused of not taking proper notes by the NRL star's defence team in court.

De Belin's defence barrister David Campbell SC cross-examined Detective Senior Constable Benjamin Sutton this morning on his second day in the witness chair about his role investigating the allegations as a junior in December 2018.

De Belin, 29, and his friend Callan Sinclair, 23, have both pleaded not guilty to five counts of aggravated sexual assault, maintaining that the sex after a pub crawl on December 9, 2018, was consensual.

Detective Benjamin Sutton arrives at Wollongong Courthouse on Tuesday. Picture: Simon Bullard.
Detective Benjamin Sutton arrives at Wollongong Courthouse on Tuesday. Picture: Simon Bullard.

Senior Cnst Sutton and a senior detective interviewed the woman when she reported it to police later that day.

It would be his first major role in a sex assault investigation, having joined the detectives just six months earlier.

Mr Campbell put to Senior Cnst Sutton that he had not taken notes of the woman's allegations, which was not "normal" practice.

"I didn't make records of the initial complaint … our priority at the time was to get her to the hospital to preserve any evidence. The retention of that physical evidence is the priority," he told the court.

Callan Sinclair at Wollongong Court. Picture: Simon Bullard.
Callan Sinclair at Wollongong Court. Picture: Simon Bullard.

Mr Campbell then put to Senior Cnst Sutton that the woman's friend should not have been allowed to stay in the room when the alleged victim gave evidence.

"By having two people present there is very real risk the other may come polluted," Mr Campbell said.

Senior Cnst Sutton agreed it was "normal procedure" to keep witnesses apart.

He told the court in a "perfect world" detectives would have received a statement from the friend within the first 24 hours.

The friend told the court yesterday she was busy and could not give a statement until nine days later on December 17, 2018.

The court heard police copied data from the phone of de Belin's partner, Alyce Taylor, de Belin's iPad, Sinclair's phone, and Gipps St resident Troy Martin's phone in the first days of the investigation.

 

NRL player Jack De Belin at Wollongong Courthouse for the continuing rape trial. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Simon Bullard.
NRL player Jack De Belin at Wollongong Courthouse for the continuing rape trial. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Simon Bullard.

De Belin's Nokia phone was not compatible with the "sophisticated" system that analysed the data, so pictures were taken instead.

Mr Campbell told the court police did not take a full copy of data from the alleged victim's phone until one year later when the defence requested it.

"You would want to ascertain all the communications she was involved in when she got to Mr Crown and when she ended up at the police station the next day," Mr Campbell said.

"In your defence it didn't happen because (the lead investigator) did not instruct you to do it?"

Senior Cnst Sutton agreed.

The lead investigator, who cannot be named, will be questioned later today.

Originally published as Cops in de Belin rape case did not take proper notes: court


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