In a recent case heard in an Australian court, Judge Sarah Huggett ruled that the prosecution of Sri Lankan cricketer Danushka Gunathilaka on charges of sexual assault was “unreasonable” and awarded him costs. Gunathilaka had been accused of removing a condom without consent, also known as “stealthing,” during a sexual encounter with a woman he met on Tinder. However, he was acquitted of all charges following a judge-alone trial in September 2023.
During a costs hearing on Friday, Judge Huggett expressed her concerns about the prosecution’s handling of the case. She stated that the prosecution had failed to properly assess the evidence before instituting proceedings, resulting in an unreasonable prosecution. She noted that the woman’s initial police interview lacked critical information that was only provided in a statement six months later. Additionally, the prosecution’s case of stealthing was flawed and lacked sufficient evidence.
In light of these deficiencies, Judge Huggett concluded that the prosecution should not have proceeded with the case. She ordered that a certificate be issued to Gunathilaka so that he may be awarded costs, acknowledging the significant impact the prosecution had on his life.
This case highlights the importance of thorough and diligent prosecution practices. When initiating proceedings, prosecutors must carefully evaluate the evidence and ensure that it meets the necessary standards to support a reasonable prosecution. Failure to do so can result in unnecessary legal burdens for the accused and undermine the integrity of the justice system.