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The Ghomeshi trial: Day 1

The first of three complainants took the stand and faced intense cross-examination from Jian Ghomeshi's lawyer.


Summary:
Judge granted media (who began lining up outside Old City Hall around 6 am) access to courtroom exhibits. No opening statements were given. The first witness — one of three complainants — was called to testify at 11 am.

The big moment: This complainant — whose identity is protected by a publication ban — brought two of the five charges against Jian Ghomeshi. The Crown examined her for an hour and a half, establishing that she met Ghomeshi four times. After a taping of his CBC Newsworld show, >play, Ghomeshi drove her to her car in his yellow Volkswagen Beetle, which she described as a “Disney car.” It was in that car that Ghomeshi pulled her hair “really, really hard” while they were kissing. “It was painful and sudden,” she testified. On their fourth encounter, the complainant went back to his house. They began kissing, and she says he pulled her hair again “extremely hard,” taking her to her knees. Then she says he hit her in the head with what felt like a closed fist.

For the remainder of the day, some two and a half hours, Ghomeshi’s defence lawyer Marie Henein cross-examined the complainant, questioning her decisions and her memory. Henein asked: Why did the complainant go to the media before the police? The complainant didn’t mention to the Toronto Star or The National that she and Ghomeshi kissed that first night — why was that included in what she told the police? Why, after her 25-minute interview with the police, did she email them details about wearing hair extensions that turned out to be wrong? Why didn’t she correct the record? Henein also referred to the complainant as a “cater waiter” and said to her, “I think you would agree with me you weren’t doing particularly well, you weren’t making a lot of money.”

In the courtroom: At around 4 p.m, there were some technical difficulties, preventing Henein’s team from playing footage of the complainant’s police interview. During the delay, the judge left the courtroom and the complainant sat alone on the witness stand, before Ghomeshi, his lawyer and a packed gallery.

Ghomeshi: Cleanly shaven and wearing a fitted dark grey suit, Ghomeshi entered the packed court with a blank expression. He turned to his family and said “Hi, mom” before sitting down.

The soundbite: “He threw me out like trash.” — The complainant, describing the moment after the alleged incident at Ghomeshi’s house.

Word of the day: Credibility. It was expected that Henein would challenge the complainant’s credibility, and the lawyer wasted no time chipping away at it, meticulously pointing out inconsistencies in her memory, her police interview and her media interviews.

Up next: More testimony from this complainant, including the footage of her police interview. The Crown also plans to call the woman’s friend, who was with the complainant earlier in the night of the alleged second assault and whose house she went to immediately after.

Related: 
How long the trial will last
Who’s who in the courtroom

What to expect from the trial