Ghomeshi won't take stand in sexual assault trial

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

  • Iraqi forces facing stiff resistance in western Mosul

    World News CTV News
    SOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq -- Iraqi forces pushed deeper into western Mosul Saturday amid stiff resistance from entrenched Islamic State fighters, a commander on the scene said. Special forces Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi said that his troops are "moving very slowly" and that IS fighters are responding with car bombs, snipers and dozens of armed drones. Source
  • Attack on Syrian security forces in Homs kills dozens, prompts airstrikes

    World News CBC News
    Suicide bombers stormed two Syrian security offices in Homs on Saturday, killing dozens with gunfire and explosions including a senior officer and prompting airstrikes against the last rebel-held enclave in the western city. The jihadist rebel alliance Tahrir al-Sham said in a social media post that five suicide bombers had carried out the attack, which it celebrated with the words "thanks be to God," but stopped short of explicitly claiming responsibility. Source
  • TSB investigating Toronto incident involving Air Canada plane

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- The Transportation Safety Board is investigating an incident involving an Air Canada flight from Halifax that landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Friday night. A safety board spokeswoman says Flight 623 was carrying 118 people and so far no injuries have been reported. Source
  • No winning ticket for Friday night's $10M Lotto Max draw

    Canada News CTV News
    If you’re feeling lucky you might want to pick up a Lotto Max ticket, because this Friday’s jackpot is going to be a record breaker. Source
  • Zimbabwe's Mugabe marks 93rd birthday in opposition area

    World News CTV News
    MATOPO HILLS, Zimbabwe -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe celebrated his 93rd birthday Saturday amid granite hills where ancient spirits are said to dwell, defying calls to resign after nearly four decades in power in a region known for opposing the man who says he'll run again in 2018 elections. Source
  • 'Luckiest 2 guys in the Arctic' rescued by military plane training for search and rescue

    Canada News CBC News
    A Royal Canadian Air Force Twin Otter crew out for some search and rescue training accidentally found, and rescued, two Nunavut hunters needing help this week. Thom Doelman, a captain with the Royal Canadian Air Force out of Yellowknife, said the crew was flying near Hall Beach as part of Operation Nunalivut, a sovereignty operation conducted annually in Canada's North. Source
  • Quebec entrepreneurs hope to add positive touch to Oscar nominee gift bags

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Along with luxury vacations, diamond bracelets and personal training sessions, celebrities who receive unofficial gift bags at the Oscars this year will also get a modest offering from Quebec. The famously over-the-top swag bags, whose value usually runs in the six figures, is distributed annually by a Los Angeles-based marketing company to the nominees in the best actor, actress, supporting actor and actress and best director categories. Source
  • Islamic State militants kill 11 in mosque ambush: Afghan official

    World News CTV News
    KABUL -- At least 10 police officers and the wife of a police commander were killed in an ambush by Islamic States group militants in northern Zawzjan province, a provincial official said. Mohammad Reza Ghafori, spokesman for the Zawzjan provincial governor, said Saturday that the police officers were ambushed Friday as they were coming out of a mosque. Source
  • One dead, two injured in fire at Ontario youth home

    Canada News CTV News
    KAWARTHA LAKES, Ont. -- Ontario provincial police are investigating a fatal fire at a group home for teenagers in the Kawartha Lakes area. Members of the OPP's Kawartha Lakes Detachment were called to the youth facility northwest of the Village of Oakwook late Friday afternoon. Source
  • Twin attacks on Syrian security buildings kill at least 32

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- Twin attacks on two Syrian security offices in the central city of Homs Saturday killed at least 32 people, including a senior security official who heads the feared Military Intelligence services, state media and officials reported. Source