Arrested on charges of sexual assault on a woman during the T20 World Cup, Sri Lanka cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka was denied bail after the hearing at a local court here on Monday. He attended the hearing via a video link in Downing Centre Local Court from Surry Hills cells. (More Cricket News)
The 31-year-old Gunathilaka was arrested in the wee hours of Sunday following an investigation into alleged sexual assault of a woman on November 2. According to a report in 'Sydney Morning Herald', Gunathilaka was handcuffed and wearing a grey T-shirt, blue jeans and thongs during his virtual attendance at the hearing.
His lawyer Ananda Amaranath made a bail application during the "closed court" hearing and magistrate Robert Williams refused bail, the report said.
"Certainly, we are considering an application to the Supreme Court and that will be done as soon as possible," Amaranth was quoted as saying in the report. "He'll be disappointed, clearly."
The Sri Lankan team had left Australia without Gunathilaka after being eliminated from the T20 World Cup on Saturday. Amaranath said he understood "some team officials remained in the country". He also said Gunathilaka has no family in Australia.
The left-handed batter played against Namibia in the first round match of the ongoing showpiece and was out for a duck. Later, he was ruled out of the tournament due to an injury even as the team qualified for the Super 12 stage. The Lankan team finished fourth in Group 1.
According to local media reports, Gunathilaka and the woman were in touch for a number of days after connecting via an online dating app. The arrest was made from a Sydney hotel just a few hours before the Sri Lankan team left Australia.
The Sri Lankan government has asked Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to conduct an immediate investigation. The SLC has made it clear it would take strict action against the player if found guilty. Gunathilaka is no stranger to controversies.
In 2021, he was suspended by SLC for one year after he breached the team's bio-secure bubble on the tour of England along with teammates Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella. The Board had also handed him a six-month ban in 2018 after he had broken the team curfew. In the same year, Gunathilaka was also suspended after his unnamed friend was accused of raping a Norwegian women.
In 2017, the board had suspended him for six limited overs games after it found about Gunathilaka missing training sessions and turning up for a game without his cricket gear. He has represented Sri Lanka in eight Tests, 47 ODIs and 46 T20 Internationals