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Danushka Gunathilaka has three sex assault charges withdrawn 



Danushka Gunathilaka (left) and his solicitor Alen Sahinovic (right) at Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday

Sri Lanka cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka has had three of four charges withdrawn relating to the alleged sexual assault of a woman in her home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. The 32-year-old was arrested at his team’s hotel in Sydney’s CBD last year and charged with four counts of sexual intercourse without consent over the alleged incident on November 2.

Police say Gunathilaka, who attended Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday wearing a beige jumper and sunglasses, and the 29-year-old woman met through Tinder. Prosecutor Hugh Buddin, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, told the court one charge had been certified but the remaining three counts of sexual intercourse without consent had been withdrawn.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.

“The complainant was in shock, she did not feel safe saying anything to the accused out of fear of retribution.”

The three withdrawn charges related to allegations Gunathilaka had digitally penetrated the woman’s vagina and put his penis in her mouth.

The remaining charge, according to the police statement of alleged facts, is that Gunathilaka engaged in “forceful” sexual intercourse, during which he allegedly “put one hand around her neck for 20 to 30 seconds and choked her”.

“The complainant was too afraid to do anything,” the police facts claim, alleging he had choked her twice more.

Gunathilaka allegedly restricted the woman’s breathing for six seconds, before she “tried to remove the accused’s hand by grabbing his wrist, but the accused squeezed tighter around her neck for a further 10 seconds”.

“The complainant was fearing for her life and could not get away from the accused,” police allege.

During the alleged choking, the police facts claim Gunathilaka continued to have sexual intercourse for 10 to 15 minutes before sitting on the edge of the bed. At this point, the complainant allegedly noticed “the condom was on the floor”.

“The complainant was in shock, she did not feel safe saying anything to the accused out of fear of retribution,” the police facts claim.

“The complainant was clear that she did not consent to engaging in sexual intercourse without a condom. Further, the complainant did not consent to sexual intercourse that involved choking.”

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.

Gunathilaka travelled to Australia with Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup team but only played in their first game before being ruled out of the competition with a hamstring tear.

He was arrested on November 6 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Sussex Street before the team’s departure, and participated in a recorded police interview, assisted by an interpreter. Gunathilaka remains on bail on conditions including daily reporting to police and the surrender of his passport.

He is allowed a mobile phone but must not use any dating applications, including Tinder. His conditions specify that he is allowed to use Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp but the latter application “is not to be used for the purposes of facilitating or arranging dating”.

Gunathilaka has been in custody since his arrest on November 6. Securities totalling $200,000 are attached to his bail and would be forfeited for any failure to comply. Sri Lanka Cricket has suspended him from all forms of the game.


Cheering Indian crowds welcome Pakistan team before ICC Cricket World Cup




A Pakistan cricket fan cheers as the cricket team arrives at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad, India (pic Aljazeera)

The Pakistan cricket team has been greeted with warm applause and loud cheers by hundreds of Indian fans upon its arrival before the ICC World Cup 2023, which starts on October 5.

The contingent landed at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad late on Wednesday and was given a raucous welcome by local fans who had lined up to catch a glimpse of the cricket stars from across the border.

Videos posted by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on X, formerly Twitter, showed fans taking photographs with their phones and shouting the Pakistani players’ names to catch their attention as the squad walked past them inside the terminal.

Bigger crowds awaited the players outside the terminal and along their route out of the airport.

They let out loud cheers for Pakistan’s captain and star batter Babar Azam when he smiled and waved back while boarding the team’s bus.


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Danushka Gunathilaka found not guilty




Danushka Gunathilaka was arrested in November while in Australia for the T-20 World Cup (pic ABC)

Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka has been found not guilty of sexual intercourse without consent following an accusation of “stealthing” involving a Tinder date in Sydney.

The 32-year-old was arrested in November while in Australia for the T-20 World Cup, after he went for drinks with a woman near the Opera House.

He had chatted online for several days and then had dinner with the woman, who can’t be identified for legal reasons, before being invited back to her eastern suburbs home, the NSW District Court heard.

The Crown’s case was that he removed a condom during intercourse without the woman’s knowledge when she had consented only to protected sex.

The complainant told the court she did not see the batsman remove the condom, but saw it on the floor shortly after the intercourse stopped.

Judge Sarah Huggett today found evidence about the “genesis” of the woman’s complaint undermined the reliability of her evidence. The judge said the woman had given different accounts in her two statements; the second, given in April this year, went into further detail about the issue of ‘stealthing’ and added that the complainant did not have a “clear memory” of what happened around the time she saw the condom on the floor.

“The evidence establishes there was no opportunity for the accused to remove the condom during the intercourse because that intercourse was continuous,” she said.

Judge Huggett considered the woman’s first conversations with two close friends, which seemed to frame the complaint in terms of the roughness of the sexual activity.

Gunathilaka’s defence counsel argued the woman lied, gave self-serving evidence and appeared to not remember parts of the night that were inconsistent with a “narrative” she created, which morphed over time.

Murugan Thangaraj SC told the judge the Crown failed to establish the woman’s reliability and highlighted what he said were inconsistencies and implausibility in her version of events.

He said it was “completely illogical” to claim she felt ambushed before lighting candles in her bedroom, effectively setting it up for “a romantic sexual liaison”.

In court, the woman alleged Mr Gunathilaka kissed her “forcefully” on the way home and on her couch, where she felt “ambushed” before moving to the bedroom.

She further alleged he choked her three times during sex, leaving her fearful for her life, and ignored requests to go slow.

Judge Huggett found the woman was an “intelligent witness who gave evidence in a considered way”, and was overall a “calm and responsive” witness.

But the judge said there were times when it appeared the complainant was motivated by a desire to paint the accused in an unfavourable light.

In his police interview, Mr Gunathilaka said he told her his preference generally was to not use condoms but wanted to on the night because it was their first meeting.

In the interview, the cricketer made mention of there being two condoms because one malfunctioned — which the Crown said was a deliberate mistruth.

But Judge Huggett disagreed, finding that his answers were the result of “confusion, fatigue, a language barrier and possibly memory”.

“I formed the distinct impression he was doing his best to be truthful and assist the police,” she said.

Sitting in the interview room, Gunathilaka told police the woman had organised him a taxi and he kissed her before leaving. “She didn’t even text me, I didn’t text her also,” he said.  “And that’s it, then I’m here.”

Gunathilaka has been in Australia on bail since mid-November.

(ABC News)

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Jayantha Paranathala passes away 



Cricket administrator Jayantha Paranathala has passed away at the age of 72. He captained Police, rose to the rank of Senior DIG and was a Vice-President of SLC. He also had a stint as Team Manager of the national cricket team and served as a member of the National Selection Panel.

He was instrumental in bringing BRC to its current glory.

 In remembrance of his service to the club, the remains of Mr. Jayantha Paranathala will be brought to BRC today (28) from  2:00 PM to 5:30 PM, providing an opportunity for friends, family, and colleagues to pay their last respects to a man whose legacy will endure in the annals of Sri Lankan cricket.

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