Sri Lankan cricketer Gunathilaka denied bail in Australia on rape charges
Danushka Gunathilaka was arrested early Sunday at his Sydney hotel and was charged with four counts of sexual intercourse without consent.
Published: 07th November 2022 12:21 PM | Last Updated: 07th November 2022 12:21 PM | A+A A-
SYDNEY: 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 travelled to Australia as part of Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup team.
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 grey T-shirt via video link at the court.
“Yes sir,” he told the court when asked if his video link was working.
Gunathilaka travelled 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.
In a statement Sunday, Sri Lanka Cricket said it had been notified of the charges, would monitor court proceedings closely and, in consultation with the International Cricket Council, would “expeditiously initiate a thorough inquiry into the matter and take stern action against the player if found guilty.”