Danushka Gunathilaka, the Sri Lankan cricket sensation, has been found not guilty of sexual assault charges stemming from an alleged act of “stealthing” during a meeting with a Tinder match. Judge Sarah Huggett delivered the decision on Thursday in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court, marking a watershed event in the athlete’s life and career.
Huggett emphasised the accused’s inability to remove the condom during the continuous sexual encounter, writing:
“The evidence establishes that there was no opportunity for the accused to remove the condom during intercourse because that intercourse was continuous.”
The complainant, who will not be identified for legal reasons, showed herself as an intellectual, collected, and believable witness throughout the trial. The court did, however, notice instances where the woman’s objectives appeared to destroy the cricketer’s name, stating:
“I find that the evidence regarding the complaint far from supports the complainant.” Rather, it calls her evidence into question.”
Gunathilaka’s defence team has indicated that they intend to seek restitution from the Crown for legal fees paid while fighting the claims.
Following the decision, Gunathilaka expressed his appreciation to his legal team, parents, and supporters outside the courthouse, reflecting on the difficult 11-month struggle.
Gunathilaka and the lady met on Tinder, and they met for drinks at Opera Bar in November 2022, followed by a supper in Sydney’s CBD and a boat journey to her eastern suburbs home. The police first filed four accusations against Gunathilaka, resulting to his detention at the Hyatt Rеgеncy just hours before the Sri Lankan cricket squad was set to leave the country. Prosecutors eventually dismissed three of these accusations.
In her allegations to investigators, the lady accused the cricketer of a variety of aggressive and violent behaviours, including slapping, forcible kissing, and choking during sexual intercourse. Although prosecutors did not claim that these behaviours were illegal, the lady insisted that the sexual contact was not voluntary.
Throughout the judge-alone trial, Gunathilaka’s defence team questioned the complainant’s trustworthiness, claiming that her story altered over time and was intended to portray Gunathilaka as an aggressor.