A Return to the Pitch: Danushka Gunathilaka’s Acquittal
Danushka Gunathilaka, the renowned Sri Lanka batter, has been declared not guilty, following allegations of sexual assault related to a Tinder date. The verdict was delivered by Judge Sarah Huggett at Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court, where Gunathilaka was present to hear the decision. The cricketer expressed his eagerness to return to the field post-acquittal.
The Verdict’s Foundation
Judge Huggett, in her verdict, stated that the evidence presented affirmed the continuous nature of the intercourse, leaving no room for the accused to remove the condom during the act. The complainant, whose identity remains confidential, was acknowledged as an intelligent and calm witness, not intentionally providing false testimony. However, the judge noted instances where the complainant seemed to portray Gunathilaka negatively.
The Complainant’s Perspective
The woman, who met Gunathilaka after matching on a dating app, accused him of several aggressive acts, including forceful kissing and causing bruises. However, the prosecution did not argue that these acts were offences. The woman maintained that the intercourse was non-consensual, but Gunathilaka pleaded not guilty to all allegations, consistently asserting his innocence.
The Defence’s Standpoint
The defence highlighted inconsistencies in the complainant’s narrative, suggesting alterations to depict Gunathilaka as aggressive. The credibility of the complainant was a focal point of the defence’s argument, emphasizing the evolving nature of her account.
The Police Conduct: A Cause for Concern
The manner in which the police handled the case raised eyebrows, with Judge Huggett describing it as “very concerning” and “far from satisfactory”. The omission of crucial details and potential witness contamination were among the highlighted concerns.
A Return to Normalcy
Gunathilaka, who has been on bail throughout the trial, expressed his relief and happiness at the return to normalcy, thanking his legal team, parents, and supporters. He is now looking forward to resuming his cricket career and returning to his hometown of Colombo.