An IT worker who sexually assaulted a 61-year-old woman during her commute home from work has been sentenced. Picture: Steve Pohlner
An IT worker who sexually assaulted a 61-year-old woman during her commute home from work has been sentenced. Picture: Steve Pohlner

Brazen daylight sex attack on train passenger

A government IT worker who sexually assaulted a terrified woman on a train over 10 minutes during her commute home from work has appeared in court.

Dilitha Shanith Gadvinne Vithanage, 37, sat next to the 61-year-old woman who became “frozen” when he began repeatedly touching her thigh during the train ride in Brisbane’s southside on January 14 this year.

Vithanage faced Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday afternoon after pleading guilty to one count of sexual assault.

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Police prosecutor Senior Constable Hayley Kipps said that during the “brazen and protracted” daylight assault Vithanage touched the woman’s leg over her clothes then used his finger to lift up her skirt.

The assault came to an end when the woman got off the train at Atlandi station in Sunnybank and alerted police.

The court was told that since the assault, the woman had been diagnosed with PTSD, had been unable to work and had moved in with her daughter.

Vithanage’s lawyer Andrew Hanlon said his client was “extremely fatigued” at the time as he was working seven days a week to support his young family and was emotional because his uncle had died the day before.

The court was told Vithanage had hoped the woman was consenting because she did not stop him.

Mr Hanlon said his client was extremely remorseful, had undertaken therapy and had offered to pay the woman $2000 in compensation.

He asked Magistrate Belinda Merrin to not record a conviction as it could impact his ability to work in government roles in the future.

The court heard Vithanage has worked as a test analyst at Queensland Health and for the Department of Justice, but was now struggling to find work.

Magistrate Merrin said while Vithanage had not used any violence, it was an uninvited and unprovoked assault on a stranger.

Vithanage was sentenced to 18 months’ probation and ordered to serve 100 hours’ community service.

A conviction was recorded and he was ordered to pay the woman $2000.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.

Originally published as Brazen daylight sex attack on train passenger