Rugby League

Jessica Peris reported Shaun Kenny-Dowall's alleged assault to police after Sydney Roosters denied her payout, court hears

The former girlfriend of Sydney Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall went to police to report assault allegations after the NRL club wouldn't give her any money following the break-up, a court has heard.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall faces court

The court was told on Thursday that the NRL star, accused of 11 charges relating to domestic violence, allegedly used a headlock on ex-partner Jessica Peris during a domestic dispute in 2015. Vision courtesy Ten News.

Jessica Peris, daughter of Olympian turned Northern Territory senator Nova Peris, gave evidence in the Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday about 11 alleged incidents of violence over a nine-month period of their relationship in 2014 and 2015.

The NRL star has pleaded not guilty to all 11 charges, include headbutting his girlfriend, pushing her, pulling her hair, putting her in a headlock, destroying a mobile phone, grabbing her arm so tightly it left a bruise, kicking her out of bed and sending offensive text messages.

Nova Peris was with her daughter Jessica in court for the hearing.
Nova Peris was with her daughter Jessica in court for the hearing.  Photo: Peter Rae

Mr Kenny-Dowall's barrister, Ian Temby, QC, tendered an explosive letter on Thursday sent from Ms Peris to Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan on June 30, 2015, days after the couple had an allegedly violent fight and broke up.

In the letter, Ms Peris told Mr Canavan about the "sensitive situation", adding that it was her second abusive relationship after a partner in Darwin was convicted of assaulting her.

She rejected an earlier offer from the Roosters to provide her with shelter and a car for one month after the break up.

Instead, she asked Mr Canavan to provide her with six months of accommodation, six months use of a car and one month's income.

Shaun Kenny-Dowall is accused of assaulting his former girlfriend Jessica Peris.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall is accused of assaulting his former girlfriend Jessica Peris. Photo: Peter Rae

"I'm undecided as to whether or not to report this to police," she said in the letter, Mr Temby told the court. "I'd prefer this not to become public."

She told Mr Canavan she was bankrupt. The court heard she was not working at the time and had large debts she was struggling to meet, including repayments on her car that had been re-possessed.

Jessica Peris asked the Sydney Roosters for money before reporting the assault allegations to police, a court has heard.
Jessica Peris asked the Sydney Roosters for money before reporting the assault allegations to police, a court has heard.  Photo: Peter Rae

Her proposal was rejected by the club.

"It wasn't until you found out that there would be no material support forthcoming that you went to police," Mr Temby asked.

"In a sense sir, yes," she said. 

However, Ms Peris denied that the rejection was the reason she went to police, saying she was still considering reporting Mr Kenny-Dowall when she sent the letter.

Mr Temby quizzed Ms Peris about the couple's "vigorous" sex life, including graphic texts in which Mr Kenny-Dowall said "I will bend you over and pull you hair".

Ms Peris responded by text, saying "pull my hair while I moan".

She denied Mr Temby's assertion that the only hair pulling in the relationship happened during sex.

The texts also show that she referred to her boyfriend as "f--king c--t", "f--kwit", "mutt dog pig dog" and "d--kwit".

"These messages... show, don't they, that in the message interchanges between Shaun Kenny-Dowall and yourself, you gave as good as you got?" Mr Temby asked.

"Under the circumstances, I responded in the same language he used," Ms Peris replied.

She had earlier told the court that she spoke to club liaison officer Cathy King in the days after the break-up, to ask for help in recovering some of her belongings from the couple's Maroubra apartment.

Ms King arranged for her to go to the apartment when Mr Kenny-Dowall wasn't there.

About three weeks later, Ms Peris went to police.

On the first day of the three-day hearing on Wednesday, Ms Peris, a professional track athlete training for the Olympics, gave evidence about a string of alleged incidents.

During a fight over previous partners, she said Mr Kenny-Dowall smashed her phone, pinned her up against a wall, grabbed her tightly by the arm and punched a framed photo on the wall beside her head.

Mr Kenny-Dowall then joked to his mother that he had "bashed" his girlfriend when she turned up at a family lunch with a visible bruise on her arm days later, she said.

He had admitted to punching the picture frame, causing his hand to bleed, but has denied all allegations of violence towards her.

The hearing continues.