The Jack De Belin/NRL next court date is now not tomorrow, as was scheduled. It has been deferred to April 16. The word is that it was the NRL that went for the new date, mostly it appears because they didn’t want a date in court clouding the launch of the 2019 season, which begins with the Storm-Broncos this Thursday as well. No doubt that a fair bit went on behind closed doors to attain that switch. The NRL now has more time to prepare for whatever may arise out of the next hearing.
Further, De Belin has now dropped his charge against the NRL for trying to stand him down before any rule had been enacted. NRL have covered themselves- calling the new rule ‘The no fault stand down clause’ – as this also covers alleged guilty conduct.
It’s still unclear as whether De Belin is still proceeding with his separate lawsuit for ‘damage to reputation’ as a result of Todd Greenberg publicly announcing his suspension/ stand down before the new rule had been rubber stamped- a trawl through news stories doesn’t shed any new light. Recall very ominously though, that Federal Court judge Rares sharply criticised the NRL for ‘personal injury’ to De Belin, in going too early with their stand down punishment. Going by this, you would presume De Belin would have a good chance of winning any suit, but laws and lawyers are a volatile, convoluted phenomenon- so it’s hard to know exactly.
All up, the deferred date is a blessing for whatever credibility the NRL has left. Sportsfreak’s Rugby League guy SWT Gallagher is totally correct- fans have had a royal gutsful of all the depravity (not that they would ever ‘air brush’ it, either- very far from it), and now just want the action to begin on the field of play.
At any rate, De Belin almost certainly wouldn’t deserve to win a defamation suit against his employer. Conversely, almost all would hope he’ll get his just desserts if he appears (note that term) to be guilty when he is brought before the magistrate in April on his counts of alleged violent sexual assault.
-Paul Montague (firstname.lastname@example.org)