• Sun. May 19th, 2024

ATIK dancefloor groper takes case to Court of Appeal

Byoxfordnewspaper

Aug 28, 2022

A nightclubber who was convicted of sexually assaulting two women on the dancefloor will take his case to the Court of Appeal.

Suranga Wijethunga claimed during his trial at Oxford Crown Court earlier this year that he had exposed his genitalia at ATIK, in Park End Street, as he was drunk and ‘wished to pee’.

The jury disagreed and accepted the prosecution’s account that he had deliberately pressed himself into the back of one foreign exchange student and groped the leg of another.

The assaults took place in the early hours of November 30, 2019.

Jailing the then 36-year-old for 13 months in March, Recorder David Mayall said: “You deny this offence. You do not think you did anything wrong on that occasion, which in my judgment must lessen the prospect of rehabilitation.”

Wijethunga will appear before the Court of Appeal on Wednesday, appealing his 13 month sentence for the two counts of sexual assault and one charge of exposure.

His case is expected to be heard by the three appeal court justices after 10.30am.

If successful in convincing the judges that his sentence was manifestly unjust, it could be replaced with a lighter punishment.

In the spring, Jonathan Coode described his client Wijethunga as a good man who had made a ‘horrendous mistake’. Alcohol had played a part in his behaviour at the nightclub and, as a result, he had not touched a drop since his arrest.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward