(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – The judge-alone trial on the case against Sri Lanka cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka was taken up before the NSW District Court in Sydney, Australia today (Sep 18).
Gunathilaka has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent and “stealthing”, after being invited to the victim’s eastern Sydney home in November last year.
During the opening address, Crown Prosecutor Gabrielle Steedman told the Court the complainant’s anticipated evidence would be that when the intercourse stopped, the woman saw a condom on the floor.
According to ABC News, Defence barrister Murugan Thangaraj SC told the court the Crown Prosecutor must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused deliberately removed the condom against the complainant’s will.
He said in order to prove that case, Judge Sarah Huggett would need to accept the woman as a credible witness.
Defence barrister Thangaraj said in her first conversations with two friends about the encounter she said she was unsure if Gunathilaka removed the condom, but “had a feeling”.
He said it was only when the woman spoke to police days later that her version “crystallised”.
Defence barrister Thangaraj also told the court his client had cooperated with police, including by giving an interview for more than two hours without a lawyer.
“He categorically denied engaging in penile vaginal intercourse without a condom,” Thangaraj said.
“He also said that because it was the first time the two of them were having sex, he also wanted to use a condom.”
The Defence barrister’s remarks come after the victim told a Sydney court she felt “fearful for her life” as Danushka Gunathilaka allegedly choked her during sex and refused her requests to slow down.
The Crown case is that at some point while they were having sex, the 32-year-old removed a condom he had been asked to wear without the woman’s knowledge or consent.
During an opening address, Crown Prosecutor Gabrielle Steedman told the NSW District Court the alleged act is known as “stealthing”.
The trial heard Gunathilaka and the woman matched on dating app Tinder and the following week he met her at a bar near the Sydney Opera House.
The complainant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told the court while they were later waiting for a ferry to her house, the cricketer kissed her “quite forcefully”.
She said she felt “slightly tipsy, but fully coherent”, while Gunathilaka did not appear intoxicated.
The complainant said she later asked him “can we please take this slow”, after the cricketer again kissed her “forcefully” in her lounge room.
After they moved to her bedroom, she told him they needed to use a condom because she did not want to get pregnant or catch a sexually transmitted infection.
“He said, ‘don’t worry, I won’t get you pregnant, darling, don’t you trust me, you should trust me’,” the woman told the court.
The complainant gave evidence that after she gave him a condom, Gunathilaka said: “I hate using condoms, I don’t like them, it doesn’t feel good, you should trust me”.
She told the court he put the condom on and started to have intercourse with her in a “forceful” way, including by choking her for 20 to 30 seconds.
“This happened at least three times,” she said.
“I remember the third time that he did so, my breath was really constricted for at least six seconds. I remember his hands stayed on my throat for a further 10 seconds or so.
“I felt fearful for my life at this point.”
The complainant said she asked the cricketer to “slow down” but he did not respond.
The trial is expected to last for three to four days.