Suspended Wallabies fullback Kurtley Beale has had bail conditions varied for him to potentially play rugby in France as he awaits trial on sexual assault allegations.
The 34-year-old made a bid to vary his bail conditions on Tuesday after he pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent and two counts of sexual touching in July.
The application was unsuccessfully opposed by NSW prosecutors, who say no playing contract has been tabled and there would be no oversight or ability to enforce Beale’s compliance with his bail conditions outside the state.
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Beale allegedly sexually assaulted a 28-year-old woman at the Beach Road Hotel near Bondi Beach in December.
The allegations against Beale are a “pretty classic case,” his barrister Margaret Cunneen SC said on Tuesday in the Sydney Downing Centre District Court.
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Beale is in negotiations to resume his rugby union career overseas, she said, but cannot enter into any contracts without the return of his passport.
“Several offers from French clubs have been made,” she said.
Beale would not leave the country until a contract was signed but needed his bail varied for that to happen, she said.
Varying Beale’s bail would allow him to leave the jurisdiction while facing very serious sexual assault allegations, crown prosecutor Darren Robinson said.
While confident Beale would return for his trial in the NSW District Court in January, Robinson warned anything could happen to prevent him returning to Sydney when needed.
“When a person leaves the jurisdiction, this court has no control potentially over that person … there are a number of things that can happen if a person leaves the jurisdiction,” he said.
Kurtley Beale has had his bail varied so he can play rugby in France. Credit: AAP
Robinson suggested Beale could be injured or end up in hospital, preventing him returning to Sydney when needed.
Cunneen said there was similarly a chance Beale could be hospitalised if his bail was not varied to allow him to resume his career as a professional athlete.
“There is more likelihood of Mr Beale ending up in a mental hospital if he is unable to get some structure back in his life,” she said.
The court heard Beale had been experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.
Robinson told the court a condition that Beale abstain from alcohol would be unenforceable in a foreign country.
Beale is accused of sexually assaulting a 28-year-old woman at the Beach Road Hotel near Bondi Beach in December. Credit: AAP
“There appears to be no dispute Mr Beale was heavily intoxicated in the hours leading up to and during the commission of the alleged offences,” he said.
Beale will get his passport back if he shows the police officer-in-charge of the investigation proof of a playing offer, Judge Antony Townsden ruled on Tuesday afternoon.
He will need to be back in NSW before the end of 2023 and surrender his passport again within 24 hours of returning.
A $50,000 surety will also be required 48 hours before he leaves, with police to be informed of his travel itinerary and where he will reside.
Beale sat behind his lawyers wearing a blue-checked suit and socks embroidered with wallabies, and did not comment as he exited the Downing Centre courthouse in Sydney’s CBD.
If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.
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