Cricketer stranded amid sex assault allegation

Sri Landkan cricket star Mestiyage Don Danishka Gunathilaka has been residing in Australia since November 2022, when he was granted bail while facing four separate charges of sexual intercourse without consent. Picture: Simon Bullard

A Sri Lankan cricket star who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman inside her Sydney home will remain stranded in Australia indefinitely after failing to block delay to his case.

Mestiyage Don Danishka Gunathilaka, 32, has been residing in Australia since November last year, when he was granted bail while facing four separate charges of sexual intercourse without consent.

Police allege the international cricketer matched with a woman on a dating app and that the pair chatted a number of times before they met on November 2, when the alleged offences occurred.

At the time Gunathilaka was in Australia to play in the T20 World Cup and, according to his lawyer, has limited support or familial ties in Sydney where he is stranded while court proceedings continue.

Appearing at Downing Centre Local Court on Thursday, Gunathilaka’s lawyer urged the court to block an application by the NSW Director of Public Prosecution to adjourn the matter again.

The prosecutor said a number of challenges had led to another adjournnent.

“A statement has been obtained from the complainant that would effect how the Crown proceeds – which will delay the proceedings,” the prosecutor said.

“The representative of the Crown has also recently been unwell.”

Prosecutors in NSW have six months to file charges against a person, before the matter can be dismissed.

The court heard the recent adjournment application would push the cricketer’s case outside of that time frame.

Gunathilaka’s lawyer said he would apply to have the case dismissed if another adjournment was applied for.

Sri Lankan cricket star Danushka Gunathilaka leaving Downing Centre courts in the Sydney CBD. Picture: Damian Shaw

Deputy Chief Magistrate Theo Tsavdaridis said he would grant the most recent application for an adjournment.

“I am of the view that these matters are very serious,” Mr Tsavdaridis said.

“The adjournments date back to November 7, 2022, but they have all seemed necessary.”

Gunathilaka will remain on strict conditional bail before he returns to the same court later this month.

The 32-year-old is currently prohibited from using dating apps, and has surrendered his passport.

He also reports daily to police having been released on a $200,000 surety bond. No pleas have been entered.