A woman who claims she was tricked into having sex without a condom with a Sri Lankan cricketer has told a court there were moments during intercourse when she “feared” for her life.
Danushka Gunathilaka is facing a single judge trial in the Downing Center District Court after pleading not guilty to a charge of sexual assault without consent.
The international cricketer entered the court complex holding hands with a blonde woman, who is not the complainant, ahead of an expected four-day trial before Judge Sarah Huggett on Monday morning.
He is facing trial over an incident on November 2 last year in which Crown prosecutor Gabrielle Steedman told the court the 32-year-old met a woman at the Opera Bar in Sydney after previously matching on Tinder.
At that time, the batsman was in Australia to take part in the T20 Cricket World Cup.
Danushka Gunathilaka was pictured holding hands and smiling with a mystery woman as he appeared in court in Sydney on Monday
The cricket star pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault without consent
It is undisputed that the couple had chatted several times on Tinder, Instagram and video calls on WhatsApp since October 31 before meeting three days later.
CCTV footage played to the court shows the couple hugging as they meet at the Opera Bar. Further footage shows the couple kissing while waiting for a ferry back to the woman’s home.
They were returning to the woman’s home in the eastern suburbs at around 11pm when the alleged sexual assault took place, the court was told.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, took the witness stand on Monday morning where she told the court she had poured herself and Mr Gunathilaka a glass of wine before he began to “pretty vigorously” her on her couch. to kiss.
“He was on top of me, I remember him kissing me pretty hard,” the woman said.
“I remember asking him, ‘Can we please take this slowly?’ because things were moving pretty quickly and I wasn’t feeling well. I remember him looking me in the eyes when I said that and not answering.’
The woman told the court that the couple went to her bedroom where she asked Mr Gunathilaka to use a condom but he said he didn’t want to because he “didn’t like her”.
Gunathilaka’s accuser told the court that the cricket star repeatedly choked her for up to 30 seconds, causing her breathing to become “really difficult”.
She told him she wanted to use a condom because she didn’t want to get pregnant or have a sexually transmitted disease.
“He said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not going to get you pregnant, darling, don’t you trust me?’” the woman said.
“I remember him saying he hated them, he said something like, ‘I hate using condoms, I don’t like them, it doesn’t feel good, you should trust me.’
The woman said Mr Gunathilaka “hesitated” before putting on the condom, which made her uncomfortable.
Ms Steedman told the court in her earlier opening statement that the intercourse lasted about 15 minutes and was “quite hard”.
During her testimony, the woman said she feared for her life on several occasions.
“I remember Danny choking me and putting one hand on my neck and the other hand laying on the bed choking me for 20 to 30 seconds,” the woman said.
She told the court the choking occurred at least three times and at one point she became “really restricted” and tried to remove his hands.
Gunathilaka is accused of “stealthing” – removing a condom during or just before sex without the partner’s knowledge
She said: “At that point I was scared for my life.”
Mr Gunathilaka then got up from the bed where the woman noticed that the condom was on the floor and he had not been wearing it.
In her opening statement, Ms Steedman said the alleged victim was “shocked” and did not feel safe saying anything because she said “for fear of retaliation”.
The main question in the trial is Mr. Gunathilaka’s state of mind as to whether he removed the condom without the woman’s knowledge, which is known as stealthing.
The court was told the woman later told friends she wasn’t sure what happened but she thought it was “something bad”.
Mr Gunathilaka’s lawyer, Murugan Thangaraj SC, told the judge the Crown must prove beyond reasonable doubt that his client removed the condom “against the woman’s will”.
In his brief opening statement, Mr Thangaraj said the cricketer was a man of “excellent character” and had co-operated with police.
He argued that the complainant’s testimony was not credible.
The trial continues before Judge Huggett.