Three out of four sexual assault charges against SL cricket Gunathilaka dropped

Sydney: Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka, who was accused of rape by a woman last year, had three out of his four sexual assault charges dropped here on Thursday.

Gunathilaka was charged with four counts of sexual intercourse without consent for which the 32-year-old had been arrested by the Sydney police from the team hotel last November during the T20 World Cup.

However, the public prosecutor withdrew three of the charges in a Sydney court.

According to the police, the Sri Lankan batter and the 29-year-old woman met via a dating app. After their date, the two returned to the woman’s home at Sydney’s Rose Bay where Gunathilaka allegedly choked her and raped her.

“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the court one charge had been certified but the remaining three counts of sexual intercourse without consent had been withdrawn,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The remaining charge, according to the police facts sheet filed with the Downing Centre Local Court, is that the Sri Lankan engaged in “forceful” sexual intercourse, during which he allegedly “put one hand around her neck for 20 to 30 seconds and choked her”.

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 woman “was fearing for her life and could not get away from the accused,” according to the police facts sheet.

Gunathilaka was part of the Sri Lankan team for the T20 World Cup team last year. However, he only played in their first game against Namibia. He was ruled out of the tournament due to a hamstring tear.

Gunathilaka, who has represented Sri Lanka in eight Tests, 47 ODIs and 46 T20 Internationals, is no stranger to controversies.

In 2021, he was suspended by SLC for one year after he breached the team’s bio-secure bubble on the tour of England along with teammates Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella.

SLC had also handed him a six-month ban in 2018 after he had broken the team curfew. In the same year, Gunathilaka was also suspended after his unnamed friend was accused of raping a Norwegian women.

In 2017, the board had suspended him for six limited overs games after it learnt about Gunathilaka missing training sessions and turning up for a game without his cricket gear.