(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka has had three out of his four sexual assault charges dropped relating to the alleged sexual assault of a woman in her home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
The 32-year-old was facing four counts of sexual intercourse without consent while in Sydney for the T20 World Cup, but the public prosecutor withdrew three of the charges in a Sydney court on Thursday.
The batsman allegedly met up with the 29-year-old woman for a date in November 2022 before raping her when they returned to her home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
A police facts sheet filed with the court said the woman “was fearing for her life and could not get away from the accused” during the November 2022 incident.
The prosecution successfully applied last month for an adjournment, which took the hearing beyond the six-month requirement for charge certification.
Gunathilaka’s lawyer, Alen Sahinovic, opposed the delay, arguing his client was being subjected to undue hardship as a foreign citizen with strict bail conditions and limited familial and social support.
Gunathilaka travelled to Australia with Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup team last year but only played in their first game before being ruled out of the competition with a hamstring tear.
He was arrested in the early hours of 6 November at Sydney’s Hyatt Regency hotel, shortly before he was scheduled to board a flight home with the rest of the team after they bowed out of the tournament.
Police say Gunathilaka, who attended Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday, and the 29-year-old woman met through Tinder.
Prosecutor Hugh Buddin, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, told the court that one charge had been certified but the remaining three counts of sexual intercourse without consent had been withdrawn.
Magistrate Clare Farnan formally dismissed the counts.
Gunathilaka’s solicitor Alen Sahinovic said the parties were yet to have a case conference and asked for the matter to return to court on July 13. He said he expects it to proceed to committal on that date.
Source: Australian Associated Press / SMH