A Sri Lankan cricketer accused of sexually assaulting a woman he met on Tinder is now allowed to use WhatsApp after he had his bail variations relaxed.
Danushka Gunathilaka faced Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday wearing a grey suit as he faces four charges of sexual intercourse without consent, relating to an incident on November 2 last year.
Defence barrister Emma Sullivan made an application to vary two conditions on the 31-year-old’s bail.
The first condition was allowing Mr Gunathilaka to use WhatsApp, which was not opposed to and granted by Magistrate Jennifer Atkinson.
The court heard the app is not to be used to facilitate or arrange dating. He is still not allowed to use any dating apps or social media.
Ms Sullivan asked the court to remove the overnight curfew and enforcement conditions after police attended Mr Gunathilaka’s home at 2am.
DPP solicitor George Rixon opposed the variation, telling the court it should be in place to “mitigate the risks” for further offences.
“The accused’s aggressive sexual behaviour is of concern,” he said.
Mr Rixon argued there are “likely to be more opportunities” for the same type of alleged offending to occur at night.
“The crown submission is it is more frequent at that time of the day,” he said.
Magistrate Atkinson said there was “nothing unique” about the alleged offending, which could happen at any time of day.
She said keeping Mr Gunathilaka on the curfew would no longer mitigate the risks as he has shown compliance since being on bail.
“The reality is he has to reside at home, if he risks staying somewhere else, it’s going to be more apparent to people than a member of the public who doesn’t have a profile,” she said.
Mr Rixon said he disagreed with the magistrate, saying Mr Gunathilaka was “not necessarily immediately identifiable in the community”.
Ms Sullivan said she “did not accept” what Mr Rixon said about her client not being well known.
“There’s been media following these proceedings … he’s internationally known,” she told the court.
The magistrate told the court everyone should be given the same treatment, whether they are high-profile or not.
She said Mr Gunathilaka has now had the benefit of the passage of time and agreed to vary bail to remove the curfew.
“He has been compliant over a period of time in relation to very strict bail conditions,” Ms Atkinson said.
“I am satisfied today the curfew can be removed.”
She directly told the cricketer he needs to continue being compliant with his bail conditions.
Police allege Mr Gunathilaka matched with a woman on a dating app while he was in Sydney for the T20 World Cup last year, chatting online before meeting on November 2.
They had drinks in the city before going back to the woman’s home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs about 11pm, according to police.
Mr Gunathilaka allegedly ignored the woman’s request to “take it slow” and instead choked and assaulted the 29-year-old woman in her own home, according to a fact sheet tendered by police at a previous hearing.
The batsman allegedly forced himself on top of the woman when the pair moved to the bedroom. Police claim the woman was uncomfortable and agreed to continue with sexual activity only if Mr Gunathilaka wore a condom.
“He protested but eventually agreed,” police allege in the court documents.
The woman told police she later found the condom on the floor beside the bed.
Police allege the woman was “in shock” and did not consent to sex without a condom. She again asked him to use a condom but he refused and instead forcefully engaged in sexual activity, according to police claims.
During the several hours he remained at the woman’s home, Mr Gunathilaka allegedly choked the woman multiple times and slapped her on the buttocks.
Police allege the woman was “frozen and in shock” before the international cricketer asked her to order an Uber for him. He left her home just before 1am.
The alleged victim told police she was sore and swollen and unable to work the next day because she “couldn’t stop crying”.
Mr Gunathilaka has not entered pleas to the four charges of sexual intercourse without consent.
The court heard a brief of evidence has been served on Mr Gunathilaka’s legal team, with the matter to return to court in April.
He was granted leave to move into a one-bedroom apartment in Sydney’s inner west before Christmas last year.
He previously surrendered his passport and has been ordered not to approach any international departure point as a provision of his bail.
The Sri Lankan national was ordered to report to police every day and abide by a nightly curfew.
Mr Gunathilaka’s bail was backed by a $150,000 surety provided by a “friend of a friend” and a further $50,000 provided by the cricketer.