Gunathilaka granted bail in case of alleged sexual assault


Sri Lanka batter Danushka Gunathilaka has been banned from using Tinder and his social media accounts after being granted bail while awaiting trial on charges of sexual intercourse without consent.

Gunathilaka, 31, was arrested in the early hours of November 6 at Sydney’s Hyatt Regency Hotel, where he was staying while the Sri Lankan team were in Australia for the T20 World Cup. He is facing four counts of sexual intercourse without consent and has not yet given a plea.

Magistrate Janet Wahlquist granted Gunathilaka bail on Thursday in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court, where he appeared via audiovisual link from Parklea jail.

Police prosecutor Kerry-Ann McKinnon opposed bail on the grounds Gunathilaka is a flight risk and that he could endanger the safety of the complainant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Wahlquist said she would take into account how bail would be approached if Gunathilaka was an Australian citizen facing the same charges. Murugan Thangaraj SC, for Gunathilaka, agreed that would result in him being released.

“Of course he would be on bail in these circumstances,” Thangaraj said.

A police facts sheet filed with the court said: “The complainant tried to remove the accused’s hand by grabbing his wrist but the accused squeezed tighter around her neck.”

“The complainant was fearing for her life and could not get away from the accused.”

In a police interview after his arrest, Gunathilaka corroborated some of the alleged victim’s story but denied he had been violent or consent was not given.

Prosecutors allege the victim did not consent to sex without a condom or any of the other sexual acts performed.

Thangaraj said Gunathilaka had complied with authorities investigating and surrendered his passport.

“There is no capacity demonstrated for him to be able to flee,” Thangaraj said.

Bail was granted with a AUD 150,000 surety and various conditions, including Gunathilaka not using Tinder or any other dating apps.

He’s also prevented from accessing his existing social media accounts unless in the company of his legal team.

McKinnon argued the alleged victim could be at risk. “This man was in her home, they walked to the address together,” she said.

Thangaraj agreed the pair walked to her home together, but said it was night time, Gunathilaka had never been to the area before and they had walked for up to 15 minutes. “How will he remember where she lived, in those circumstances, even if he wanted to?” Thangaraj said.

The unidentified complainant was being harassed via social media, and has had to close her accounts, McKinnon said. The harassment was coming from accounts with “Sri Lankan names”, she said.

Thangaraj said that was irrelevant. “He has not encouraged a single person to do a single thing,” he said. “She’s off social media, so that’s all stopped.”

Gunathilaka will be required to live at a specific address and report to police daily.

After matching on Tinder, meeting up for a date and heading back to her Rose Bay home, the alleged victim claimed the cricketer refused to wear a condom and choked her three times. Gunathilaka travelled to Australia with Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup team but only played in their first game before being ruled out of the competition with a hamstring tear.

Sri Lanka were eliminated from the tournament on November 5 after losing their final match. Gunathilaka was due to board a flight back to Sri Lanka the following day.

The case will return to court on January 12.(ESPNcricinfo) 

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