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

  • Scores arrested in protest against Belarus' president

    World News CTV News
    KYIV, UKRAINE -- Hundreds of women calling for the authoritarian president to step down protested in Belarus' capital on Saturday, continuing the large demonstrations that have rocked the country since early August. Police blocked off the centre of Minsk and arrested more than 80 demonstrators, according to the Viasna human rights organization. Source
  • Proud Boys rally has Portland, Ore., in weekend state of emergency

    World News CBC News
    Thousands of supporters of the far-right Proud Boys group were expected in Portland, Ore., on Saturday as police prepared for clashes in a city that has become the epicentre of sometimes deadly political violence in the run-up to the Nov. Source
  • First Nations police services look to throne speech pledge for higher, stable funding

    Canada News CBC News
    The Rama Police Service, which serves the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, does not have dedicated funding for forensic and crime investigation units, or to provide aid to victims. Rama police Chief Jerel Swamp said the force provides front-line, culturally responsive policing to the community near Orillia, Ont. Source
  • Canada's death toll could hit 16,000 by the end of the 2020, new modelling warns

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Canada could see as many as 16,000 COVID-19 deaths by the end of the year if current public safety measures don’t change, according to new modelling from the United States that has provided accurate assessments of the American death toll. Source
  • Who is Amy Coney Barrett? A closer look at Trump's expected Supreme Court pick

    World News CTV News
    Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a federal appellate judge and Notre Dame law professor, is a proven conservative with a compelling personal story who has long been atop U.S. President Donald Trump's Supreme Court short list. Source
  • Quebec reports nearly 700 new COVID-19 cases as pandemic total passes 71,000

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Quebec public health authorities announced Saturday that 698 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. In the past two days, officials have reported 1,335 new cases in Quebec, and the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic has surged to 71,005. Source
  • Alps surprised by early snowfall, Swiss town sees new record

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- Parts of Switzerland, Austria and Germany were surprised by unseasonably early snowfall overnight, after a sharp drop in temperatures and heavy precipitation. The Swiss meteorological agency said Saturday that the town of Montana, in the southern canton (state) of Valais, experienced 25 centimetres (almost 10 inches) of snowfall -- a new record for this time of year. Source
  • 7 in custody after stabbing near Charlie Hebdo's former office in Paris

    World News CBC News
    Seven people were in custody on Saturday after a stabbing outside the former Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, including the suspected assailant, authorities said. Counterterrorism authorities are investigating what officials called an Islamic extremist attack linked to Charlie Hebdo, which lost 12 employees in an al-Qaeda attack in 2015. Source
  • Ontario reports more than 400 new cases of COVID-19 for third consecutive day

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Health officials in Ontario are confirming more than 400 new cases of COVID-19 for the third day in a row. The 435 new cases represent an increase over Friday’s total when 409 lab-confirmed cases were added. Source
  • As a shark latched on to her husband's shoulder, a pregnant woman sprang into action

    World News CTV News
    Moments after her husband jumped into the turquoise waters of the Florida Keys, Margot Dukes-Eddy saw a shark fin and blood around the area where he had entered the water. Without hesitation, Dukes-Eddy, who is pregnant, leaped into the water and pulled him to safety. Source