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

  • 3 infants among 5 people stabbed at NYC neighbourhood daycare

    World News CBC News
    Police say five people, including three infants, were stabbed at an overnight daycare centre in New York City. Authorities say the stabbings happened just before 4 a.m. Friday at a home in Queens. A three-day-old girl and a one-month-old girl were stabbed in the abdomen and a 20-day-old girl suffered cuts to her ear, chin and lip. Source
  • Trump stumps for vulnerable senator, attacks news media at boisterous rally

    World News CTV News
    LAS VEGAS -- His own political fortunes intrinsically linked to his party holding control of Congress, U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday offered full-throated support for the most vulnerable incumbent Republican senator, while unleashing a torrent of grievances against Democrats and the news media and claiming they are sabotaging his administration. Source
  • Ontario high school students plan walkout over curriculum

    Canada News CTV News
    Students across Ontario are being urged to walk out of school Friday in protest of changes to sex education and indigenous curriculum. The effort is being called the March for Our Education. Students, teachers and staff at more than 100 Ontario high schools are expected to take part. Source
  • China, Russia slam U.S. over sanctions related to their military transactions

    World News CBC News
    The Chinese government expressed anger on Friday and demanded the withdrawal of Trump administration sanctions laid a day earlier on its military for purchases made in Russia. The sanctions, part of a sweeping law punishing Moscow for interfering in the 2016 U.S. Source
  • Millionaire fugitive accused of murdering wife may be hiding in Canada

    Canada News CTV News
    Police are urging the public to be on the lookout for a millionaire fugitive accused of murdering his wife in their California mansion who they believe may be hiding in Canada. Peter Chadwick was charged with killing his wife Quee, known as Q.C. Source
  • U.K. hits back after EU trashes May's Brexit plan

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- The British government on Friday accused the European Union of slamming the handbrake on Brexit negotiations, after the bloc said Prime Minister Theresa May's blueprint was unworkable. European Council President Donald Tusk said bluntly at a meeting in Salzburg, Austria on Thursday that parts of May's plan simply "will not work," while French President Emmanuel Macron called pro-Brexit U.K. Source
  • Japan space rovers dispatched to asteroid to collect data

    World News CBC News
    A Japanese spacecraft has released two small exploration robots on an asteroid in a research effort that may provide clues to the origin of the solar system. The Japan Space Exploration Agency said the two Minerva-II-1 rovers were lowered from the unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa2 to the asteroid Ryugu. Source
  • Death toll reaches 100 in Tanzania ferry disaster, state media say

    World News CBC News
    More than 100 bodies have been recovered after a ferry sank Thursday in Lake Victoria, according to Tanzanian state radio, and many more people are feared missing as rescuers search for survivors. Radio TBC Taifa reported Friday the latest toll from the sinking of the ferry MV Nyerere, which capsized just a few metres from the dock on Ukerewe, the lake's biggest island, which is part of Tanzania. Source
  • Ottawa announces 'first step' in reviving Trans Mountain pipeline project

    Canada News CBC News
    The federal Liberal government will make an announcement in Halifax this morning regarding the future of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Amarjeet Sohi, minister of natural resources, and Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of fisheries and oceans, will reveal the details starting at 9 a.m. Source
  • North Carolina residents reckon with lost homes, livelihoods as floodwaters recede

    World News CBC News
    With floodwaters from Florence receding in some places and still menacing others following last week's hurricane-tropical storm, tired and waterlogged North Carolinians are finally getting a chance to take stock of the destruction from the wind and floodwaters. Source