A statement released by club bosses at Manly say they are ‘not suprised’ by the not guilty verdict found in a court case involving fullback Brett Stewart.
Jurors found the fullback innocent of charges that he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl outside Manly Vale home unit complex on March 6, last year.
The NSW District Court’s finding ends 18 months of anxiety for the 25 year old and his family.
Sea Eagles chairman Scott Penn said it had been a long drawn out period of waiting for all concerned.
“As a club we all knew the type of quality person Brett Stewart is and from day one of the allegations there was an insistence that like every Australian citizen he should be allowed to have his day in court.
“That has been a long time coming – particularly for his close knit family. They have been hurt by the allegations but believed in the justice system to deliver the right verdict and it has.
“We will give Brett and his partner Jamie Baker all the time they need to recover from the traumatic last year and a half.
“Since Brett Stewart arrived home from England and the successful 2009 World Club Challenge his life has been under intense scrutiny. Everyone at the Sea Eagles from the staff in the front office, the coaching staff, team mates, sponsors, members and supporters wish him well and a successful return from a long period out with injury to his famous number one jersey next season,” Mr. Penn said.
Stewart has only played six games since the Sea Eagles collected their 2008 premiership due to an on-going knee problem.