Ghomeshi won't take stand in sexual assault trial, closing arguments set for Thursday

As the sexual assault trial of Jian Ghomeshi neared its final stages Wednesday, one thing became clear -- the former broadcaster would not take the stand.

See Full Article

The 48-year-old former CBC Radio host, who has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and choking charges, has maintained his silence ever since being arrested in November 2014.

The case will now move to closing submissions on Thursday, where the Crown and the defence will highlight key evidence heard in court and summarize their core arguments for Justice William Horkins, who will decide Ghomeshi's fate.

Ghomeshi, as an accused, has no obligation to testify in his own trial.

"There are many reasons why an accused elects not to call evidence," said John Rosen, a veteran criminal defence lawyer who's been following the trial. "One of them is that the complainants have been destroyed in cross-examination."

Another factor, Rosen noted, is that if Ghomeshi had chosen to testify, he would have also given the Crown an opportunity to cross-examine him. The judge would then have to weigh his testimony to see if it was credible, reliable and carried any new evidence, Rosen explained.

The "risk" to the defence in not calling its own witnesses, however, is that the judge has no counter-story to what has been heard in court, he said.

Ghomeshi acknowledged in October 2014 that he engaged in rough sex acts, but said it was consensual.

His trial heard from three women who were behind the allegations at the centre of the case.

The first complainant, whose name is protected by a publication ban, testified that Ghomeshi suddenly yanked on her hair when they were kissing in his car in December 2002 and then, a few days later, abruptly pulled her hair while they were kissing in his home and then punched her in the head.

The second complainant, "Trailer Park Boys" actress Lucy DeCoutere, told court that she was with Ghomeshi in his bedroom in 2003 when he suddenly pushed her against a wall, started choking her and slapping her face while they were kissing.

The third woman, who also cannot be named, testified that while kissing Ghomeshi in a park in 2003, he suddenly bit her shoulder and started squeezing her neck with her hands.

Ghomeshi's defence lawyer Marie Henein, known for her take-no-prisoners style, dissected the women's testimony, casting doubts about their credibility and questioning their actions after the alleged sexual assaults, at times accusing them of lying.

In the case of the first complainant, Henein confronted the woman with friendly emails -- and a bikini photo -- she sent to Ghomeshi after the alleged assaults. The woman said she sent the emails as "bait," hoping Ghomeshi would contact her so she could demand an explanation for the alleged assaults. The woman said she didn't remember the emails when she spoke with police.

During the dramatic cross-examination of Decoutere, Henein suggested the incident never happened, showing court an email the woman sent Ghomeshi hours after the alleged assault in which she expressed a desire to have sex with him. She also produced a hand-written letter the actress sent him days later that ended with the words: "I love your hands."

Under a barrage of questions from Henein, the third complainant acknowledged she deliberately misled investigators by not initially telling them she had a sexual encounter with Ghomeshi a few days after the alleged assault. Henein also revealed that the woman and DeCoutere exchanged thousands of messages in which they discussed their allegations and their shared contempt for him.

While the three complainants' testimony made up the bulk of evidence at the trial, the Crown introduced evidence from a fourth and final witness to the trial on Wednesday -- a police statement made by DeCoutere's friend and "Trailer Park Boys" co-star Sarah Dunsworth in November 2014.

The Crown said Dunsworth's statement would corroborate DeCoutere's allegations against Ghomeshi and put to rest claims by the defence that DeCoutere's actions were motivated by a desire for fame and notoriety.

Dunsworth told a Halifax police officer she had known DeCoutere since 2000 and had formed a "really close friendship" that went beyond working together.

"She described an incident in which she had gone to his house and that he had ended up putting his hands on her neck and choking her," Dunsworth told police, according to the statement. "We talked about the fact that they hand't discussed it before-hand or that it wasn't part of any kind of like sex play."

Court also heard on Wednesday that DeCoutere had told Dunsworth over Facebook that police wanted to speak with her in an effort to corroborate her story.

Reading on an app? Tap here for full experience.

Replay our live blog below.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Alabama woman gets life sentence for helping husband plan killings

    World News CTV News
    HUNTSVILLE, ALA. -- An Alabama woman received a life sentence Wednesday for helping her husband plan the 2015 killings of his estranged pregnant wife, her unborn child and three others. Rhonda Carlson, 48, avoided the death penalty in a deal with prosecutors in exchange for testifying against her husband, Christopher Henderson, prior to his trial. Source
  • U.S. judge may allow men shot by Rittenhouse to be called 'rioters' but not 'victims'

    World News CTV News
    The men shot by Kyle Rittenhouse in August 2020 can potentially be referred to at his trial as "rioters" or "looters," a Wisconsin judge said Monday while reiterating his long-held view that attorneys should not use the word "victim. Source
  • Ransomware gang says it targeted U.S. National Rifle Association

    World News CTV News
    RICHMOND, VA. -- A ransomware gang believed to operate out of Russia says it hacked the National Rifle Association, the most powerful gun-rights group in the United States. The gang, which calls itself Grief, published a handful of what appear to be the NRA files on a dark website. Source
  • Iqaluit expects water testing to come back clean; tap water still undrinkable

    Canada News CTV News
    IQALUIT -- Nunavut's capital city says it expects tests on its drinking water to show undetectable levels of fuel. Iqaluit is under a state of emergency and its roughly 8,000 residents haven't been able to consume tap water since Oct. Source
  • Moldova turns to Poland for gas amid tensions with Russia

    World News CTV News
    BUCHAREST -- Moldova has turned to a non-Russian natural gas supplier for the first time as the former Soviet republic seeks to avert a looming gas shortage this winter after failing to renew a long-term supply contract with Moscow. Source
  • U.K. women boycotting clubs, pubs amid reports of drink spiking, needle injections

    World News CBC News
    Young women across the U.K. are boycotting nightclubs and pubs Wednesday as university towns and cities join in a national "girls night in" protest after increasing reports of drink spiking and students being drugged by needle injections. Source
  • New information raises questions about existence of brain syndrome in New Brunswick

    Canada News CTV News
    FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's health minister says an epidemiological report has found no known food, behaviour or environmental exposure that could have caused the symptoms of a mystery brain syndrome. Dorothy Shephard released the information on the heels of an outside report, which examined eight deaths in the province initially linked to the mystery syndrome and concluded they were all due to known diseases. Source
  • Coroner's inquest into death of Ontario teen at provincial school for blind to begin next month

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A coroner's inquest into the death of an Ontario teen at a provincially-run school for the blind more than three years ago is scheduled to begin next month. Samuel Brown, who was born with a genetic condition that left him blind and deaf, attended W. Source
  • Report: At least 59,000 U.S. meat workers caught COVID-19, 269 died

    World News CTV News
    OMAHA -- At least 59,000 meatpacking workers caught COVID-19 and 269 workers died when the virus tore through the industry last year, which is significantly more than previously thought, according to a new U.S. House report released Wednesday. Source
  • Watchdog: 30 recent cases of violence to Afghan journalists

    World News CTV News
    ISLAMABAD -- More than 30 instances of violence and threats of violence against Afghan journalists were recorded in the last two months, with nearly 90% committed by the Taliban, a media watchdog said Wednesday. More than 40% of the cases recorded by The Afghanistan National Journalists Union were physical beatings and another 40% were verbal threats of violence, said Masorro Lutfi, the group's head. Source