The Jian Ghomeshi case seemed straightforward and simple when it began but Ghomeshi’s acquittal left most people shocked. What happened? If you are not familiar with the trial, please read my article “Jian Ghomeshi” first.
What was meant to be the foundation of the case, became the most damaging part of the case – the witness testimonies.
Three witnesses came forward alleging that Jian had assaulted them during intercourse. One victim shared her name while the other two remain anonymous under the publication ban. Each witness was critically analyzed on the stand and questioned about numerous details relating to the incident. This is how each witness held up, not in any particular order.
Witness 1 (Publication ban):
This victim told the police that she had not had contact with Ghomeshi after the attack; however, Jian’s defense lawyer then revealed an email sent by the victim to the accused after the alleged attack. The email included the victims phone number (for contact) and a picture of her in a string bikini.
In cross- examination, the victim stated that she did not recall sending the email but did remember drafting it. The victim also stated that she had sent Ghomeshi the email as a means to entice him to contact her so she could ask why he had assaulted her. The judge ruled that the witness was intentionally withholding information and was in breach of her obligation to tell the truth.
Lucy DeCoutere guaranteed under oath that she had not maintained relations with Ghomeshi outside of a professional setting following the attack. Her statement was later refuted by the defense attorney who revealed a six-page love letter, an email stating that DeCoutere wanted to meet Ghomeshi again and pictures of the two cuddling in a park just days after the alleged attack. The email included language suggesting that she had enjoyed the sexual encounter with Ghomeshi. According to the judge, this revelation undermined DeCoutere’s argument of non-consent and portrayed her as less than truthful.
Witness 3 (Publication ban):
This witness stated like the others that she had been assaulted by Ghomeshi and had no contact with him after the fact. However, a day before the trial the victim came forward to admit that she had sexual relations with Ghomeshi after the attack. It is believed that she came forward with this information due to a news report stating that the defense had obtained email exchanges between the victims and Ghomeshi. After hearing the victims statement, the judge’s decision stated that he felt the victim would not come forward with the complete truth unless she was confronted with the evidence, making her testimony uncreditable.
Witnesses Speak- out:
When asked to defend their stances, the witnesses had much to say. One of the witnesses stated that she wasn’t sure what would come into discovery during the trial and hence was unprepared to determine what was relevant information to the case. The witness went on to state that some of the facts shared in court are irrelevant to the attack taking place. Another witness stated that she had expected the Crown to prepare her for court by asking her tough questions (similar to television dramas). In reality, the only onus for prosecutors is to prove beyond reasonable doubt that alleged offence did take place and put forth their best efforts to seek a conviction. Witnesses stated that they felt vulnerable, humiliated and uncomfortable in court.
There is far more to this case and discussion, more posts will follow throughout the week.
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Points of Discussion:
- What are your thoughts on the testimonies, the prosecution and defense?
- Do you believe the victims or Ghomeshi?
- Did this article highlight the complications of the case for you? Do you feel you understand the case a little better?