Sri Lankan cricketer denied bail in Australia on sex charges

SYDNEY (AP) — A Sri Lankan cricketer charged with sexually assaulting a woman in Australia remained in jail Monday after a court declined his bid for bail.

Danushka Gunathilaka was arrested early Sunday at his Sydney hotel and was charged with four counts of sexual intercourse without consent. The 31-year-old had traveled to Australia as part of Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup team.

Sri Lanka Cricket said it was suspending Gunathilaka from all forms of cricket with immediate effect.

Under Australian court rules, not all details of the case can be reported.

At the Downing Centre Local Court, Magistrate Robert Williams noted Gunathilaka had no criminal history.

But the cricketer’s application for release was later refused by the court.

Outside the court, defense lawyer Ananda Amaranath said the decision was disappointing and his client was considering appealing to the New South Wales state Supreme Court.

Gunathilaka’s bail application was made in a closed court, after the police prosecutor lodged an application to prevent publication of the facts of the case and the indictment against the 31-year-old.

The motion to suppress was opposed by Amaranath and Stephen Coombs, the senior legal counsel for Nationwide News. The pair made similar arguments — that the victim’s name was already prevented from being made public, and further suppression orders were contrary to open justice.

But the judge decided to grant an interim order closing the court from public scrutiny on Monday. That order will be reconsidered on Wednesday.

The cricketer had spent a night in custody at the Surry Hills Police Station before appearing in handcuffs and a gray T-shirt via video link at the court.

“Yes sir,” he told the court when asked if his video link was working.

Gunathilaka traveled to Australia with Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup team but only played in the team’s first game, a loss against Namibia, before being ruled out of the competition with a hamstring tear.

The cricketer had been holding up well considering the circumstances, his lawyer told media outside the court.

“He has the full support of the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and the Sri Lankan Cricket Board. So he is okay,” Amaranath said.

The left-handed batsman has played nearly 100 T20 and one-day internationals for Sri Lanka and eight test matches.

Sri Lanka lost its final group match to England on Saturday in the T20 World Cup and the rest of the team — minus Gunathilaka — left for home on Sunday.

Consultant coach and former captain Mahela Jayawardene, who had traveled with the team to Australia, told reporters at the airport in Sri Lanka when they arrived back that it would be up to the Australian judicial system to determine what had happened.

“The players who go on these tournaments are not school kids, they are professionals and they must take responsibility for their behavior and the decisions they make,” Jayawardene said.

Sri Lanka Cricket said it would carry out an inquiry and penalize Gunathilaka if he was found guilty by an Australian court.

The cricketing organization said it wished to emphasize that it adopts a zero tolerance policy toward any such alleged conduct by a player and would provide all the required support to Australian authorities to carry out an impartial inquiry into the incident.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Related Categories:

Australia News | World News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up