Manly Sea Eagles: Brett Stewart media statement

The Manly Sea Eagles are pleased but not surprised that fullback Brett Stewart was today found not guilty of allegations that he sexually assaulted a 17 year old girl outside his Manly Vale home unit complex on March 6, 2009.<br><br>Today’s finding by a jury in the NSW District Court ends 18 months of anxiety for the 25 year old and his family.<br><br>Sea Eagles chairman Scott Penn said it had been a long drawn out period of waiting for all concerned.<br><br>“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.<br><br>“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.<br><br>“We will give Brett and his partner Jamie Baker all the time they need to recover from the traumatic last year and a half.<br><br>“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.<br><br>Stewart has only played six games in the NRL since the 2008 grand final triumph against Melbourne – five in 2009 and one in 2010 – because of knee problems.<br><br>He has played 118 games for the Sea Eagles and scored an incredible 98 tries including an average of one a game at his home ground&nbsp; Brookvale Oval.<br>