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Monday, February 26, 2024

Kurtley Beale found not guilty of sexual assault offences

She argued the woman was “flirting” with Beale, including grabbing the cap off his head. The woman said she had shown Beale an Instagram screenshot of his wedding suit as it was inspiration for her own nuptials. She denied telling Beale he looked “hot” in the photograph.

The woman claimed Beale called out “Oi” and grabbed her shoulders as she walked towards the bathroom, allegedly repeating “I really want to f— you” in a “desperate” and forceful tone.

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“I kept saying, ‘We can’t, you’re married, I’m engaged, I don’t want to,’” the woman said.

She told her sister and future mother-in-law that Beale followed her into the bathroom. The officer-in-charge of the investigation conceded in cross-examination the complainant’s memory of that was incorrect. The CCTV showed Beale entering the bathroom, followed by the woman, who then exited after about four-and-a-half minutes.

The woman said she was “busting” and left the door ajar, claiming Beale came into the cubicle and locked it, dropped his pants, pulled her head, forced himself on her and spun her around by the hips.

The defence argued the woman “instigated” the sexual activity and was “in control”.

Secret recordings

The woman confronted Beale with her allegations in a lengthy recorded call from 5.22pm on January 19, 2023, during which he recalled they “hooked up”, repeatedly apologised, said he had “totally misjudged” the situation and asked whether she was going to take it further.

Cunneen said: “Not anywhere in that call does he concede or agree that on the night he thought she wasn’t consenting. As he says, ‘I thought it was on’.”

A second call was recorded from Beale to his manager Isaac Moses at 6.18pm that same day, when he said he had “messed up” and that a “bird” had phoned him to say she did not consent to oral sex.

“I’m like, f—, OK. Just trying to recollect everything,” Beale said.

Moses asked: “Kurtley, I’ll bet you she did consent otherwise that wouldn’t have happened. True, yes?”

“That’s what I thought,” Beale replied.

The court heard the woman, in notes prepared for the call, described its purpose as to “convince him he is guilty and not innocent” and “he will be better off if he confesses”.

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The court heard Beale was drunk that night, but this was not a focus of the trial as the prosecutor said his intoxication was not relevant to the consideration of consent. The woman gave evidence she had 12 drinks and two “small lines” of cocaine over the afternoon and evening.

A forensic toxicologist determined the woman had “used a bit more cocaine than average”, as it was detected in her system more than 24 hours later.

A married man, and an engaged woman

In her opening address, Cunneen noted Beale was a married man, but it was not a “moral tribunal”.

His mother-in-law Julie Blomberg gave character evidence that Beale had “made a mistake” and resolved “the issue of hurt” with his wife Maddi Beale, who arrived hand-in-hand to court with her husband throughout his trial.

“I don’t think for a minute that Kurtley would assault someone,” Blomberg said. “We believed him when he said that it was consensual.”

Maddi and Kurtley Beale outside court during a break on Friday.

Maddi and Kurtley Beale outside court during a break on Friday.Credit: Nick Moir

The woman said, after leaving the bathroom, she told her fiance Beale had tried to kiss her. She said she “kept it high level as to not cause a scene”. The fiance said the next morning the complainant was “bawling her eyes out” and would not tell him what was wrong.

The defence argued the woman’s allegations arose during an ongoing disagreement with her fiance, stemming from one week earlier. Cunneen labelled the woman “manipulative” and said she had thrown Beale “under the proverbial bus” to salvage her relationship and get sympathy from others.

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