Sydney woman questioned in court over sexual assault allegations against Danushka

Sydney woman questioned in court over sexual assault allegations against Danushka

September 19, 2023   08:57 pm

A Sydney woman, who accused Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka of sexual assault was questioned in court by the latter’s legal counsel on Tuesday (Sept. 19).

The alleged victim claims she was sexually assaulted on November 02, 2022 at her eastern suburbs home after matching with Gunathilaka on Tinder and meeting him at the Sydney Opera Bar for a date.

Gunathilaka allegedly told the woman he did not need to wear a condom, saying that she should trust him and that she would not fall pregnant.

The 32-year-old batsman has denied any wrongdoing and has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent.

Gunathilaka was in Australia at the time to participate in the T20 World Cup.

The duo had chatted on several times through the dating app, Instagram and video calls on WhatsApp from October 31, before their meeting three days later.

As the cricketer’s rape trial at Sydney’s Downing Centre district court continued on Tuesday, defence barrister Murugan Thangaraj SC asked how the alleged “stealthing” could have taken place given the woman’s claims the sex had continued for 10 to 15 minutes.

“You don’t describe the sexual intercourse ever pausing, do you?” Thangaraj asked.

“I don’t, no,” the woman replied.

“The way you describe what happened, there was no opportunity for Danny to remove the condom,” the barrister pressed.

“No, I disagree with that,” the woman said.

She told the court the cricketer could have removed the condom and thrown it on the floor while he was either choking her or slapping her from behind.

“At no point did Mr Gunathilaka have unprotected [sex] with you,” Mr Thangaraj said.

“That is not correct,” the woman replied.

The alleged victim, who cannot be legally identified, was also asked about what she said occurred after the pair left the Opera Bar to have pizza in the Sydney CBD and then return by ferry to her home.

She alleged Gunathilaka forcefully kissed her on the ferry’s front outdoor deck and slapped her from behind in a manner she did not like.

CCTV footage shows her chatting and embracing the cricketer on a side outdoor deck and seems to show her waving in front of his phone as he films Sydney Harbour.

After they go back inside the cabin to sit down, the footage shows her holding his hands for a long time before getting up to leave.

She said the forceful kiss and the slap happened in another area of the ferry where there was no CCTV.

The alleged victim says he did slap her but she does not know at what point it was while they were on the ferry.

She said she invited him into her house where she offered him some wine and played the guitar.

She told police she had stopped playing because Gunathilaka kept filming her without her permission.

Thangaraj suggested events that allegedly happened after this, including that Gunathilaka pushed her back onto the lounge and pushed his head forcefully into hers, actually did not happen.

He questioned the woman’s claims she led the cricketer into the bedroom and lit candles to set the mood despite the prior alleged aggressive conduct.

The trial heard before Judge Sarah Huggett without a jury continues.

-with inputs from Australian Associated Press (AAP)

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