Jack de Belin has been barred from an NRL return. Picture: Peter Rae
Jack de Belin has been barred from an NRL return. Picture: Peter Rae

Landmark ruling: De Belin barred from NRL return

RUGBY league star Jack de Belin remains suspended after he lost a legal bid to overturn his playing ban for rape charges.

The Dragons lock launched a Federal Court challenge to the code's controversial no-fault stand down policy, which he claims will ruin his career.

Justice Melissa Perry delivered her judgement in the landmark case on Friday, ruling the NRL and the Australian Rugby League Commission always had the power to bench the Blues Origin forward.

The judge found the NRL established a "clear and present danger to their legitimate interests" by the seriousness of de Belin's charge and the negative media attracted by the code's "summer of hell."

"Nothing short of a rule precluding Mr de Belin and others charged in the future with serious offences of a similar nature from taking the field was likely to address the clear and present danger established," she said.

"The court rejected the submission that he was stood down 'indefinitely' under the new rule and that the new rule operates in a relevantly retrospective manner."

De Belin, who was not present in court for the decision, was ordered to pay the NRL and ARLC's legal costs.

The judge found the 28-year-old was not entitled to compensation for any damage to his name or hurt and stress.

Justice Perry found the NRL didn't engage in misleading and deceptive conduct, and did not unlawfully restrained de Belin's trade.

It means St George Illawarra will remain without de Belin for Sunday's clash against the Newcastle Knights with the ban likely to extend past his October 2020 contract.

It's a career-validating ruling for ARLC chairman Peter Beattie, who has staked his reputation on the hard line rule which de Belin sought to permanently block.

It also has wider ramifications for the game after NRL boss Todd Greenberg used his discretionary powers to suspend young Penrith playmaker Tyrone May for his own alleged off-field sex scandal.

Benched Manly Sea Eagles centre Dylan Walker has already been cleared to play after being found not guilty of domestic violence charges last week.

De Belin wanted the NRL and ARLC to issue a press release and advertise in several newspapers that the Dragons No. 13 has not been suspended and was free to play.

This was rejected by the judge.



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