Ex-NRL star Michael Jennings has admitted in court that he didn’t tell the NRL the full extent of his cocaine use.
The former State of Origin and Test outside back made the revelation in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court as he defended himself against allegations he abused and raped his ex-wife during their relationship.
Mr Jennings is defending a civil case in which his former wife Kirra Michelle Wilden is seeking damages for personal injuries and made allegations that he raped her “five or six times” during their relationship.
Mr Jennings has denied raping Ms Wilden, has never been charged and NSW Police have confirmed they never received a complaint against him.
In her statement of claim, Ms Wilden accused him of verbally abusing her and regularly drinking excessively and taking drugs during their relationship.
Previously, Mr Jennings admitted to the court that he consumed cocaine on four occasions – during Mad Monday celebrations with teammates in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The court has also been told that he received a first strike under the NRL’s illicit drugs policy after testing positive to cocaine following end-of-season celebrations with Parramatta teammates in 2016.
Michael Jennings is defending civil proceedings in the NSW District Court in which he has been accused of abusing his ex-wife. He has denied all allegations. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jeremy Piper.Source:News Corp Australia
Mr Jennings told the court on Thursday that when he was summoned to NRL headquarters to front a meeting with the game’s chief medical officer, he withheld information about his drug usage.
At the meeting, which was also attended by the Eels’ chief medical officer and a support liaison, Mr Jennings made admissions about using cocaine at Mad Monday a year prior in 2015.
However, the court was told, he did not mention he also did so in 2013 and 2014.
“What you didn’t tell the panel is that you also used cocaine in 2014, correct?” Ms Wilden’s barrister Jeremy Morris said.
“I told them about the previous use,” Mr Jennings said.
“Only about 2015,” Mr Morris said.
“Yes,” Mr Jennings said.
When he was questioned about whether he confessed to the NRL his usage in 2013 and 2014, he replied: “No.”
In exchange for his testimony, Mr Jennings has been issued a certificate from Judge David Wilson that protects him from prosecution in relation to his drug usage.
However, Judge Wilson at one point had to warn him that it did not mean he would not be prosecuted for providing misleading evidence and perjury.
The warning came after Mr Jennings continually maintained to Mr Morris that he was not aware that admitting to extensive drug use could attract sterner penalties.
Ms Wilden has maintained that she found empty plastic bags, which had been used to carry drugs, in his pants when she did his washing during the course of their relationship before their divorce in mid-2016.
On his third day in the witness box on Thursday, Mr Jennings denied that he ever purchased cocaine despite his admissions that he on four occasions consumed it.
Kirra Michelle Wilden has accused Michael Jennings of verbally abusing her and regularly drinking excessively and taking drugs during their relationship. Picture: NCA NewsWire Jeremy PiperSource:News Corp Australia
Mr Jennings is not facing a criminal trial over the rape accusations and is being sued by his ex-wife in civil proceedings.
Ms Wilden is seeking damages for personal injuries and has also claimed that he subjected her to emotional and verbal abuse.
She first made the claim that he raped her on several occasions between October 2014 and early 2016, while they were getting a divorce in 2018.
He has previously told the court that when he was made aware of the allegations, he complained to police that he was the victim of an “extortion” attempt.
Ms Wilden has alleged that one rape occurred in the early hours of October 12, 2014, after Mr Jennings came home to their eastern suburbs unit drunk following a wedding.
According to Ms Wilden, he arrived home some time between 2.30am and 4am, was so drunk that he was crawling on his hands and knees, banged on the door for her to let her in before he forced himself on her.
However, Mr Jennings’ version of events has deviated in key aspects.
Michael Jennings celebrates with the NRL trophy following the 2013 grand final. He has in court this week admitted to taking cocaine at post-game celebrations. Picture Gregg PorteousSource:News Limited
He maintained that he arrived home around 6am or 7am as well that he let himself into their apartment using his key and slept on the couch.
Mr Jennings repeatedly said “no” as he was asked about the allegations made by Ms Wilden.
“No, this didn’t happen,” he said.
The former NSW and Australian centre was suspended by the NRL in October after returning a positive test for performance-enhancing substances Ibutamoren and Ligandrol.
He agreed in May to walk away from the final 18 months of his Eels contract that was worth a reported $400,000 per year.
The hearing before Judge Wilson continues.
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