The Courier-Mail

Fake Uber sex assault trial starts

- DANIELLE BUCKLEY

A MAN who claimed to be an Uber driver allegedly sexually assaulted five women he picked up in Brisbane’s inner-city making one woman touch his “excess skin” and penis, a court has heard.

Sampath Sandaruwan Samaranaya­ke, 44, faced Brisbane District Court yesterday where he pleaded not guilty to 19 offences including sexual assault, indecent act with intent to insult or offend, deprivatio­n of liberty and common assault.

The court was told that Samaranaya­ke allegedly assaulted each of the women after offering them rides home from Fortitude Valley in September 2018.

Prosecutor Sandra Cupina told the court that Mr Samaranaya­ke allegedly told one passenger about how he had excess skin on his body after losing weight and that she was a “very nice girl who was making him feel things down there”.

“Things were getting more uncomforta­ble and sexual ... when this driver suddenly grabbed her by the wrist and put her hand on top of his penis and said ‘see it’s hard’,” Ms Cupina said.

The court heard that Samaranaya­ke will argue that some of the acts were consensual but denies others ever occurred.

The trial continues before Judge Tony Moynihan QC.

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