Sydney: Sri Lankan cricket international Danushka Gunathilaka has been found not guilty of raping a woman he met on a dating site during the south Asian team’s tour of Australia last November.
Judge Sarah Huggett acquitted the 32-year-old player as he sat at Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court on Thursday listening to the decision.
Huggett found that the alleged victim, who cannot be legally named, was an intelligent witness who did not deliberately give false evidence about the use of a condom but was motivated by a desire to paint the cricketer in an unfavorable light.
“I find that the evidence regarding the complaint far from supports the complainant. Rather it undermines the reliability of her evidence,” she said.
Gunathilaka and the woman met for drinks at a bar before having pizza together in downtown Sydney and catching a ferry to the woman’s home in the city’s eastern suburbs.
The woman accused him of various acts of aggression and violence. Police initially brought four charges against the 32-year-old, who was arrested at a city hotel just hours before Sri Lankan team was due to fly out home on November 6.
Prosecutors later dropped three of those charges.
Gunathilaka maintained his innocence, pleading not guilty to one count of sexual intercourse without consent.
During the judge-alone trial, defense lawyers attacked the credibility of the woman, claiming her story shifted over time and that she edited her version of events to paint Gunathilaka as an aggressive person.
Gunathilaka had been on bail during the trial, but was unable to play international cricket or return to his hometown of Colombo in Sri Lanka.
He traveled to Australia with Sri Lanka’s ICC T20 World Cup squad last year, but only played in the team’s first game before being ruled out of the tournament with a hamstring injury.