Jian Ghomeshi Not Guilty of Sexual Assault

Ontario judge says 3 complainants were 'less than ... forthcoming'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2016 11:50 AM CDT
Jian Ghomeshi Not Guilty of Sexual Assault
Jian Ghomeshi arrives at a Toronto courthouse Thursday for the verdict in his sexual assault trial.   (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

Ex-CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi on Thursday wrapped up the first of two sexual-assault trials he faces, and the verdict came back not guilty, the Globe and Mail reports. An Ontario judge issued the ruling, clearing Ghomeshi of four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking in incidents said to have taken place with three different women—including Canadian actress Lucy DeCoutere—in late 2002 through the summer of 2003. Ghomeshi, who was fired by the CBC in October 2014, didn't take the stand during the eight-day, judge-only trial and no evidence was put forth by his legal team to directly refute the women's claims. But Judge William Horkins found the complainants were "less than full and frank and forthcoming" and "demonstrated, to some degree, a willingness to ignore their oath to tell the truth," per the Guardian. That was enough to generate reasonable doubt, he wrote.

And the offensive against the complainants was aggressive. Per the Toronto Sun, Ghomeshi's attorneys produced emails the first unnamed woman sent to him a year after two alleged 2002 assaults, including an email with a picture of her in a bikini—which she says she sent to Ghomeshi to "bait" him into talking about the assaults. DeCoutere, meanwhile, says Ghomeshi slapped her and pushed her against a wall, "cutting off my breath." But his lawyers threw in her face a six-page handwritten love letter she had penned to him (which she noted didn't mean the assaults didn't happen). And the third woman hid that she performed a sex act on Ghomeshi after her alleged assault in July 2003—but she said she had simply been embarrassed about it and didn't think it relevant. Ghomeshi's second trial, tied to a charge of sexual assault at work in 2008, is set to start June 6. (More Jian Ghomeshi stories.)

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