Sri Lankan Junatilaka appears in court on sexual assault charges



Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka appeared via video link handcuffed in a Sydney court on Monday to ask for his release on bail after being accused of four counts of sexual assault. Jonathilaka, who only spoke to confirm his identity, appeared on a screen at Downing Center District Court. He appeared calm as he sat in a gray T-shirt in a Sydney detention center.

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The hitter’s lawyer, Ananda Amaranath, said he would seek bail for the 31-year-old. Judge Robert Williams adjourned the case briefly before hearing a bail request. The prosecution said it would seek to prevent the publication of certain elements that could identify the alleged victim.

Police arrested and charged Jonathilaka on Sunday, hours after the national team lost to England at the 20th World Cup. Jonathilaka was left out of the first round with a hamstring injury but remained with the team in Australia.

He was arrested in a Sydney hotel in the early hours of Sunday morning and charged with four counts of sexual intercourse without his consent. New South Wales State Police said on Sunday that sex crime investigators were investigating the alleged sexual assault of a woman in Sydney’s eastern suburbs last week.

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Police said the couple met after communicating for several days via a dating app. Police Detective Jane Doherty, NSW State Sex Crimes Squad leader, said the couple then arranged to meet. “They had drinks and went to eat something before going back to the young woman’s house,” Doherty told police.

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She said the police were alleging that “the man assaulted the female several times while she was performing sexual acts.” The Sri Lanka Cricket Committee said it was following up on the case after being informed of the accusations by the International cricket Council (ICC). “SLC will closely monitor the proceedings in court and, in consultation with the ICC, will promptly launch a comprehensive investigation into the matter and take firm action against the player if found guilty,” the company said in a statement.

Gunathilaka made his international debut in 2015 and played eight Tests, 47 ODIs and 46 T20s.

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