A Toronto judge has found former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi not guilty on all charges.
The former CBC radio star and host of the popular radio program ‘Q’ was facing four charges of sexual assault, and one count of overcoming resistance by choking, relating to three women.
In reading his judgment, the judge said cross-examination demonstrated “each complainant was less than full, frank & forthcoming in info they provided to media, police, counsel & court.”
Ghomeshi had pleaded not guilty to all charges, and claims while he has engaged in rough sex, it was always consensual.
The trial, which began February 1st and ran for eight days, attracted crowds along with intense media attention, and became a lightning rod for debate around how we handle sexual assault as a society.
Ghomeshi is still facing a single charge of sexual assault in a separate trial in June.
Owing to Ghomeshi’s fame there was never a doubt the trial would be a spectacle of one sort or another.
But no one could have predicted the courtroom twists that could have been taken from a Hollywood movie.
Ghomeshi’s defence dropped several bombshells that left spectators reeling, and raised questions about how the prosecution handled and prepared its witnesses.
This is due in part to the aggressive defense strategy Ghomeshi’s lawyer, Marie Henein, has pursued and built while attacking his accusers’ credibility.
One of the most dramatic turns in the trial came early, when Henein accused the first complainant of lying in court.
The woman, who can’t be named, alleges that Ghomeshi had aggressively pulled her head back on one date, and punched her repeatedly in the head on another.
She had initially testified that afterwards she was traumatized every time she heard Ghomeshi’s voice on the radio or saw him on TV.
But Henein produced ‘flirty’ emails the accuser had written to the radio star, including one with a photo of her in a bikini.
When pressed, the accuser told the court they had been written to “bait” Ghomeshi into meeting so she could confront him about the alleged incidents.
Ghomeshi wasn’t the only celebrity in court. Among his accusers, and the only woman to waive her right to a publication ban, was “Trailer Park Boys” actor Lucy DeCoutere.
She is accusing Ghomeshi of shoving her against the wall, then hitting and choking her.
But she too faced a grilling from Henein, who focused on why, if DeCoutere had been attacked, she stayed at Ghomeshi’s house for an hour after the incident – listening to music and kissing him good bye – then failing to report the incident to police.
Henein also produced letters and emails DeCoutere wrote to Ghomeshi over a period of years after the alleged incident.
Some were written mere hours afterward, including one which read “you kicked my ass last night” and said she wanted to “f— your brains out.”
One letter that closed “I love your hands,” drew gasps in the court room.
None had been disclosed until cross examination.
Questions of collusion?
Ghomeshi’s third accuser alleges he bit her and squeezed her neck while they were kissing on a park bench.
During the trial she admitted she had had a later sexual encounter with Ghomeshi, that hadn’t previously been disclosed to police.
But the real bombshell came when the defence asked about her relationship with DeCoutere.
The two are friends, and the complainant had initially claimed they had not discussed Jian Ghomeshi with each other.
But when pressed by Heinein, she admitted they had spoken about the allegations against him, both before and after the trial started.
Originally published on CKNW.com.