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NSW Police push for restraining order against cricketer Gunathilaka found not guilty of sexually assault

29 November 2023 08:15 pm - 10     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Police are urging for an AVO to be taken out against Danushka GunathilakaSydney, Nov 29 (Daily Mail) - New South Wales Police are pushing for an apprehended violence order to be taken out against a Sri Lankan cricket star despite him being cleared of sexually assaulting a woman at her Sydney home.

Danushka Gunathilaka, 32, was finally allowed to leave Australia in October after about 10 months on bail after he was acquitted following a judge-alone trial in September.

Police had alleged Mr Gunathilaka had removed a condom without consent, also known as 'stealthing', during a sexual encounter with a woman he met on Tinder.

On Wednesday, the matter returned to the Local Court where it was revealed police were still pressing for an AVO to be taken out on the cricketer on the woman's behalf.

A police prosecutor on Wednesday told the court that the AVO was being pressed by the officer in charge.

But Mr Gunathilaka's lawyer, Alen Sahinovic, told the court that his client was living back home in Sri Lanka and he would need time to get instructions. The matter will return to court in December.

The move comes despite District Court Judge Sarah Huggett, who presided over the trial, finding police who attempted to prosecute Mr Gunathilaka acted 'unreasonably'.

At a costs hearing last week, Judge Huggett told the court that she had 'significant concerns' about the prosecution's case.

'I'm firmly of the opinion that if the prosecution had - before the proceedings were instituted - been in possession of evidence and all the relevant facts, it would not have been reasonable to institute the proceedings,' she said.

The top-order T20 batter was arrested and charged with four counts of sexual assault in November 2022 after the woman reported the matter to Bondi police.

The court was told the woman told Mr Gunathilaka she would only agree to sex if he wore a condom, which he 'grumbled' about but ultimately agreed to.

Notes from the woman's first police interview indicate she told officers the condom was taken off 'against her will', allegations Mr Gunathilaka denied.

During that interview, Judge Huggett said the woman failed to include 'critical' evidence she later provided to police in a statement some six months later.

Ultimately, police only proceeded to trial on a single charge, that of stealthing, with charges relating to the alleged roughness of the sex being dropped.

'The deficiencies in the prosecution case of stealthing, remembering that the prosecution case was not one of rough or aggressive sexual intercourse, were apparent,' Judge Huggett said.

'They were not the result of the factual findings made at trial ... Nor were the deficiencies related simply to the credibility of the complainant.

'There were so many inherent issues and difficulties with the prosecution case that should have been obvious to the prosecution at the outset.'

Judge Huggett ordered a certificate be issued to Mr Gunathilaka so he may be awarded costs.

Police submitted that in deciding to prosecute Mr Gunathilaka they could not have predicted what 'factual findings would be made at trial'.

Following the acquittal, Mr Gunathilaka told media he was looking forward to resuming his playing career.

'I think the judge's verdict says everything,' he said outside court, thanking his family, lawyers, manager and supporters.

He added: 'The last 11 months have been really hard for me ... I'm happy that my life is normal again, so I can't wait to go back and play cricket.'

After listening to four days of evidence, Judge Huggett found there was 'no opportunity' to remove the condom because the intercourse was 'continuous'.


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  Comments - 10

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  • Disappointed Lankan Wednesday, 29 November 2023 08:35 PM

    a) Nobody gives a damn about this nonsense b) We've clearly got a lot more than "stealthing" to discuss in this country c) Maybe if focused more on improving our game on field as opposed to the "tinder" game, we would'nt finish 9th place at the world cup? Food for thought....let's talk about stuff that actually matters....Prophetic arrival/departure and Cricket scandals unfortunately do not qualify!

    Female Thursday, 30 November 2023 01:30 AM

    Stealthing is against the woman's will! No means no!

    L Jaya Thursday, 30 November 2023 02:57 AM

    This is covering up of their (police) humiliation as a result of dismissing the facts by the judge. As he in Sri Lanka, this AVO is null and void.

    Saman Thursday, 30 November 2023 03:44 AM

    I agree. Nobody cares about these rogue cricket players. we all have more important issues to deal with...

    Sunil Ranjith Thursday, 30 November 2023 04:32 AM

    The NSW police action reeks of corrupt or malicious activity. Recently saw NSW police trying to hide about high level officer being on drunk driving charge. The NSW police officer in charge should be investigated as already well known woman was lying as judge found no chance for what the police alleged. Seems will have to sue NSW police for their bad behaviour with this AVO.

    Ram Thursday, 30 November 2023 05:02 AM

    Forget the case. What matters here is if Dhanushka breached team discipline by going out in the night. If he was in Sydney to play cricket he must follow team rules. If he is allowed to play, it may be an opening for others too to play bed cricket when on tours. I recall when two players were found going out in London. They received a short suspension but Dhanushka did not get the message. For this kind of offence a long suspension is required as a deterrent to protect the game

    Sickened cricket fan Thursday, 30 November 2023 01:44 PM

    The NSW police and the Aussie legal system aside, Danuska Gunathilaka not only brought disgrace to Sri Lankan Cricket, but also to all Sri Lankans, the Sri Lankan migrants in Australia and to thousands of our diligent students in that country. He is a rotten apple who is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Imagine the example he has now set to all the aspiring cricketers and young sportsmen/women in schools of Sri Lanka today. Very sadly for Sri Lanka, the new Sports Minister is the one who applauded and supported this man’s indecent behavior by personally visiting him in Australia when the Gunathilaka was out on bail by the Australian Legal system. Now, that same Minster is tasked with cleaning up SL cricket by bringing in discipline and uncorrupt practices? Isn’t that ironic? Insane and corrupt political decisions like this are exactly why Sri Lanka is in its current messy state even after 75 years of independence. Self-discipline is the foundation of any form of success.

    Denagama PAla Thursday, 30 November 2023 02:56 PM

    Where is that Gona followed him? Who cares of this thief except SL politicians!

    Shifan Thursday, 30 November 2023 02:59 PM

    Sri Lankan cricket gone to dogs or dogs playing cricket we are not quite sure. The fact of the matter is Mr. Condom was supposed to play cricket and not screw around women. For this reason alone he should be penalized and punished. Hang the Australian government and case verdict . Dhanushka is guilty of messing up the responsibility he was given to represent the national team and bring disrepute to the country . He should be sacked from all forms of cricket

    Navi Thursday, 30 November 2023 08:56 PM

    Ram - forget the team discipline, SLC Officials broke every norm possible and set a good example for players to follow. The complainant and the Police realised "stealthing" long after the first complaint was recorded. Now, Police action after the accused has been accquitted and moreover after an order was made to recover Cost. DOWN THE LINE 2ND THOUGHTS AND/OR DELAYED ACTION. This is not honest


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