At a judicial pretrial last October, a different judge scheduled the trial at 19 days — enough time for the Crown to establish its case, call witnesses and perform cross-examinations. Witnesses typically take a day to a day and a half to testify, says Toronto defence layer John Navarette, and the Crown may bring in additional witnesses to the three complainants. It’s possible that an expert witness may testify to the way people process and respond to sexual assault, as well.
Trials by judges tend to be swifter; jury trials can last months. But everyone, from the lawyers who will examine the witnesses to the judge who will monitor what’s admissible, will want to be mindful. Navarrete says that there is no real precedent for the Ghomeshi trial: This is a high-profile case of sexual assault with numerous complainants and (to say the least) keen media interest.