‘No way I was doing that’: Ex-cricket exec
A former executive threatened to sue Cricket Australia and told police that sex offence allegations were “vindictive” and impacted his career, a court has been told.
On Christmas Day in 2020, Timothy Whittaker was arrested and interviewed over an allegation he had sexually touched a sleeping colleague after a staff party.
The following year another man came forward with a similar allegation dating back to January 2016, saying he had initially given Mr Whittaker the benefit of the doubt but questioned the events years later after hearing rumours.
Mr Whittaker has strongly denied the allegations and is fighting two charges in a contested hearing before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
On Friday, the recording of his 2020 police interview was played to the court as Detective Leading Senior Constable Sonja Cameron said he had ignored a request for a second interview.
In the video, he denied the complainant’s version of events that included him waking up in Mr Whittaker’s bed after passing out on his couch following an end-of-season staff party.
It’s alleged he had pulled down the man’s pants.
“I wouldn’t do something like that ever,” he said.
“It’s not true and it makes me angry to hear that.”
He told police he woke up about 5.30am as the man left, texting him words to the effect of “are you OK”, saying he was concerned for his welfare.
“He rang me and sounded distraught. I said I couldn’t understand you and he hung up,” he said.
Police allege Mr Whittaker then sent the man several text messages saying: “You just can’t ring me and say that mate.
“Sorry but what the f--k, there’s no f--king way I was doing that dude.”
Mr Whittaker responded that while the phone call was incomprehensible, he could tell the man was “accusing me”.
He further told police he had hired a defamation lawyer and sent a letter to Cricket Australia after rumours of sexual misconduct got him “terminated” from later jobs at the International Cricket Council and Australia Post.
“I can’t help but feel it’s vindictive and it’s following me … In terms of having an impact on my employment,” he said in 2020.
The court was told a second Cricket Australia employee contacted the association’s human resources in December 2021 to detail an alleged incident from January 2016.
Former people and culture manager Louise Lee said the man told her he’d “heard Tim was in some trouble” and felt he should come forward.
“He said to me he had heard rumours of this happening to others … he wasn’t clear on the context,” she said.
The allegation was referred to police, with the court being told it was alleged Mr Whittaker groped the man, again in his bed, following a night of heavy drinking in Melbourne.
Prosecutor Sharn-Adelle Coombes told the court there was a “stark similarity” between the two allegations.
“The complainants are unknown to each other, there’s no suggestion they have spoken or have any knowledge of each other,” she said.
On Friday afternoon, Mr Whittaker’s barrister, Dermott Dann KC, argued the 2016 allegation should be thrown out on a no-case basis, saying there was no evidence to prove the elements of a sexual assault.
Under Victorian law, prosecutors must prove a person accused of sexual offending made a conscious, voluntary and deliberate decision to engage in the conduct.
Recounting excerpts from the man’s testimony earlier this week, Mr Dann said that while alleged offending was disputed, the prosecution were unable to prove Mr Whittaker was awake.
“He said he believed for years he was asleep,” Mr Dann said.
“His ultimate position is, because he’s heard a rumour, he’s changed his mind.
“His evidence is while the man’s hand is making contact with his penis, he looks asleep and sounds asleep. The defect goes to a central element of the case.”
This was challenged by Ms Coombes, who said Mr Whittaker allegedly had his arm around the man and hand down his pants making “deliberate movement”.
“The inference can be drawn it’s entirely possible he was awake and knew what he was doing,” she said.
Magistrate Timothy Gattuso said he would need time to consider the arguments on the no-case issue.
The case returns on Monday.