Hedges trial results in hung jury

Jason Hedges and pro surfer wife, Chelsea at a Quiksilver event. Getty

Jason Patrick Hedges, husband of pro surfer Chelsea Hedges, could face a third trial for alleged rape charges after the Southport District Court in Queensland, Australia returned a verdict of a hung jury on Nov. 26.

Hedges pleaded not guilty to charges that he had sex with a 24-year-old woman on Nov. 18, 2007. Hedges and friend Beaumont Blake slept at the alleged victim's house after a night out, and the woman said she was asleep next to the Blake when she woke up to find Hedges having sex with her in the morning.

The Queensland Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions does not comment court cases. If the Crown decides to pursue a third trial, a date for 2011 will be set next week.

"We will be there ready to defend him for a third time should the matter proceed," said Angelo Vasta, Hedges' barrister. "We were very disappointed that there wasn't a successful conclusion to it because the trial, I thought, went well."

Vasta said that the Crown could choose to discontinue the case.

"They do have a policy, I'm told, that after two disagreements they review it," he said.

Vasta said the Hedges would not be available for comment.

According to local newspaper The Gold Coast Bulletin, Crown prosecutor Scott Collins told the court in the first trial, "It is a crime of rape for a man to have sexual intercourse with a woman who he knows is asleep." This trial also ended with a hung jury in July 2009.

In a closing statement to the jury in 2009 Vasta said, "The events are such that they really give rise to a defense of honest and mistaken belief."

Crown prosecutor Isaac Munsie told the jury this year that there was no DNA evidence associating Hedges with the alleged rape, and the case depended on the victim's evidence.

Chelsea, whose maiden name is Georgeson, won the ASP world title in 2005. She and Jason, a board shaper, were married in 2006 and had a daughter in 2008.