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'Difficult legal' issue delays high-profile Jarryd Hayne rape trial in Australia

The rape trial of former NRL star Jarryd Hayne - already postponed six months because of Covid-19 - had another delay after the jury was selected yesterday.

Jarryd Hayne leaves the Burwood Local Court on December 10, 2018 Source: Getty

Judge Peter Whitford sent the Newcastle District Court jury home early at 3pm, citing a "quite an important and difficult legal question I'm dealing with".

Hayne, 32, who was arrested more than two years ago, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of aggravated sexual assault inflicting actual bodily harm on a woman in NSW's Hunter Valley on September 30, 2018 - the night of the NRL grand final.

The prosecution and defence are now due to start their opening submissions from 10am on Tuesday, but crown prosecutor Brian Costello did briefly outline his case to the jury panel on Monday.

He said Hayne had committed the two sex acts "essentially at the same time" in the woman's bedroom before injuring her.

The prosecutor said Hayne had been in Newcastle for rugby league associate Kevin Naiqama's bucks' party over the grand final weekend.

Mr Costello said the trial was expected to take at least two weeks but could stretch into a third.

Judge Whitford warned the jury panel not to disclose any information that could identify the alleged victim.

In his later directions to the selected jury, the judge said they might be aware Hayne had quite a high public profile over a number of years but they had to ignore what they knew about him and his circumstances.

Judge Whitford said they had to reach a verdict based on a rational assessment of the evidence given in court.