An international student denies raping an unsuspecting woman he allegedly confessed to nearly three years after the fact.
On Tuesday, lawyer Andrew Chakrabarty appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Mr Seneviratne’s behalf and entered a plea of not guilty to a charge of sexual intercourse without consent.
Police documents previously tendered to the court say the Sri Lankan national and the alleged victim met while studying at the ANU.
One night in 2017, the woman went to Mr Seneviratne’s room on campus to talk to him because she was upset about something that had happened with her boyfriend.
She wanted to “cuddle”, and as this progressed to kissing and touching she said she did not want to have sex.
According to the documents, the pair promised not to tell anyone what had happened and the woman fell asleep on Mr Seneviratne’s bed while he started to work on an assignment.
Police allege that while the woman was asleep and unable to consent, Mr Seneviratne digitally penetrated her.
She later woke up and left, unaware that anything had happened while she was sleeping, according to police.
In January this year, Mr Seneviratne told the woman via Facebook Messenger that “the thing that happened between us was my fault”.
“U came to me upset looking for some kindness and I took advantage,” he said.
“If u had never spoken to me again I’d understood [sic].”
Police say that at this point, the woman believed Mr Seneviratne was apologising for “making out” with her.
But a few days later, he allegedly admitted to digitally penetrating the woman.
“I didn’t really get consent,” Mr Seneviratne said in one message, according to court documents.
The woman replied that she could not remember the penetration and said: “My brain must have blocked it out”.
Mr Seneviratne responded: “Yeah that’s why I’m apologising. Prolly kinda traumatic. U trust someone and they take advantage of yr emotional state [sic].”
Police began investigating when the woman reported the matter in June.
Officers raided Mr Seneviratne’s dormitory at the ANU last month and found the Facebook Messenger conversations during a preliminary examination of his phone.
According to police, Mr Seneviratne “made full admissions to sexual activity between himself and [the woman], however stated it was all consensual”.
Officers showed him the Facebook Messenger conversations, and he acknowledged that they were messages between himself and the woman.
However, he is said to have told police that some of his comments were a joke, and that when he wrote “I didn’t really get consent”, he had meant to say “I did really get consent”.
Following the entry of his plea on Tuesday, Mr Seneviratne’s case was adjourned until December 1.
He remains on conditional bail ahead of that date.