The final charge against Ghomeshi was withdrawn today and the former broadcaster delivered an apology for his workplace behaviour.
After signing the peace bond, Jian Ghomeshi walked to the podium in front of Justice Timothy Lipson and took a long pause before addressing court for the very first time. He read the apology with a voice unfamiliar to Q listeners — slightly higher, his phrasing more clipped. Read the full story
“The relentless message to me, from my celebrity boss and from the national institution we worked for was that his whims were more important than my humanity or my dignity.”
As expected, Jian Ghomeshi signed a peace bond in court today and apologized for his workplace behaviour toward Kathryn Borel, the complainant whose name was made public this morning. Ghomeshi had been charged with sexually assaulting Borel — that charge has now been withdrawn.
Following the brief court proceedings, Borel made a statement to members of the media about her interactions with Ghomeshi and the CBC, and her feelings on today’s resolution. Here’s what she said:
“Hi everyone. Thank you for coming out and listening. My name is Kathryn Borel. In December of 2014, I pressed sexual assault charges against Jian Ghomeshi. As you know, Mr. Ghomeshi initially denied all the charges that were brought against him. But today, as you just heard, Jian Ghomeshi admitted to wrongdoing and apologized to me. Read the full story
Jian Ghomeshi is expected to appear in court to sign a peace bond, which would result in the final charge against him being dropped.
There will be no second trial for Jian Ghomeshi.
Instead, the former CBC radio host returns to court Wednesday to sign a peace bond, an action initiated by Ghomeshi’s defence, according to the Canadian Press. As a result, the Crown is expected to withdraw its single charge of sexual assault.
That charge relates to allegations brought by a former Q producer who says Ghomeshi groped and rubbed himself against her at work in 2008. It was scheduled separately from Ghomeshi’s February trial because it is a more recent incident and had a workplace context. A witness was expected to testify to seeing the alleged incident.
Instead, Crown Michael Callaghan and defence attorney Marie Henein will return to room 125 at Old City Hall court before Justice Mavis Wong to have Ghomeshi sign the bond. While it’s not a requirement of a peace bond, Ghomeshi will make an apology. It will be the first time he has spoken in court. Read the full story
Redgrave asked the court for the publication ban on her name to be lifted. ‘I never really wanted to hide,’ she says.
She is the woman who said Jian Ghomeshi yanked her hair as she sat in the passenger seat of his leased yellow Beetle. She is the woman who says he did the same thing on another occasion at his home, then hit her in the side of the head. She is the woman who emailed him a photo of herself in a red string bikini in pursuit of an explanation.
She is Linda Christina Redgrave. Read the full story
Is Marie Henein a traitor to her gender for taking on — and winning — the sexual assault case of Jian Ghomeshi?
This is a rhetorical question and a silly one at that. As anyone with even the most glancing familiarity with our legal system knows, there are thousands of female criminal defense lawyers who defend male sex offenders everyday for the simple reason that it’s their job. Not all of them are as high profile as Henein and Ghomeshi, but the fact that women lawyers defend accused rapists is hardly earth-shattering news. And yet this fact seemed to astonish to our country’s highest profile news anchor Peter Mansbridge, a man who has been overseeing The National since I was still watching Mr. Dress Up. Read the full story
Jian Ghomeshi’s lawyer spoke with Peter Mansbridge about “betraying” women, her critics and her unwavering belief in the justice system.
Toronto criminal defence attorney Marie Henein has broken her silence about the highest profile case of her 25-year career — the trial of former CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi. Four days after winning the most-watched sexual assault criminal proceedings in recent Canadian history, Henein sat down with CBC chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge “reluctantly” to discuss the justice system and her role representing Mansbridge’s former colleague. The Crown has 30 days to appeal the verdict, so Henein would not discuss specifics of the case. But the wide-ranging, 20-minute interview revealed a lot about her views of the criminal courts, feminism and the social media haters. Read the full story
The case was an invaluable education in sexual assault reporting and how near-impossible it is to be a credible witness.
For many of us, this high-profile trial was the first time we’d witnessed sexual assault proceedings unfold with such immediacy and intimate detail — due, in large part, to the reporters who live-tweeted the testimony from the courtroom (including Chatelaine senior writer Sarah Boesveld). From the outset, legal experts predicted that the credibility and moral character of the complainants would be scrutinized — because they always are. They expected that Lucy DeCoutere would be accused of wanting attention, that the complainants’ post-incident behaviour would be deemed suspicious and that their ability to recall, with precision, seemingly insignificant details from years ago would determine whether the case stood or fell. But to see all of those boxes ticked off, one by one — these predictions come to life in the courtroom as though they’d been scripted — erased any shred of mystery around how exactly the system fails sexual assault complainants. It also handily explained why an outrageous proportion of incidents go unreported and, ultimately, unpunished in Canada (an estimated 97 percent).
More than anything, the Ghomeshi trial has been a massive public education, and the lessons are bleak. There seems to be only one viable course of action for a sexual assault witness to have a hope of meeting the incredible burden of evidence placed on her in court. To map it out, that course of action looks something like this: Read the full story
Brenda Cossman, a law professor at the University of Toronto, says the trial will discourage victims from coming forward.
The trial was literally a performance in everything that is wrong with sexual assault law, or more specifically, the way our sexual assault law’s are applied. The Criminal Code provisions on sexual assault are actually pretty good — there is an expansive definition of consent or more specifically its absence, and the Supreme Court of Canada has insisted that consent be positive and on-going. But the social norms through which these laws are applied still leave a lot to desired. Read the full story
The actress and Air Force captain speaks out about the crushing aftermath of the Jian Ghomeshi trial.
When Lucy DeCoutere first went to police on October 31, 2014, with allegations that Jian Ghomeshi had sexually assaulted and choked her more than a decade earlier, she didn’t anticipate that her complaint would result in criminal charges, let alone a trial. But in February of this year, the Halifax-based Air Force captain and Trailer Park Boys actress found herself — along with two other unnamed witnesses — at the centre of dramatic court proceedings in Regina v. Ghomeshi, in which the accused was tried on four counts of sexual assault and one of overcome resistance by choking. On Thursday, Ghomeshi was found not guilty of all the charges. Read the full story
The first witness opens up about being afraid, that bikini photo and how she plans to make coming forward better for other women.
In November of 2014, a Toronto mother of two walked into a police station to tell officers that Jian Ghomeshi had assaulted her. She did so after learning two things: 1) She wasn’t the only woman the former CBC radio host allegedly hurt, and 2) There was no statute of limitations on her claim that he had yanked her hair without warning in December 2002 and again in January 2003 before delivering two blows to the side of her head. She sat down with detectives and nervously blurted out her story. Read the full story
Justice William Horkins delivered his decision in the case against the former CBC host.
Jian Ghomeshi was acquitted of all charges against him on Thursday, including four counts of sexual assault and one of overcoming resistance by choking. In reading of his verdict, Justice Horkins pointed to issues of credibility in all three complainants’ testimonies. saying navigating the system is quite simple: “You tell the truth, whole truth, nothing but truth.” Horkins said that each complainant was less than “full, frank and forthcoming” in the information they provided to media, police, counsel and the court. He said it was “impossible” to conclude that the witnesses were credible. Read the full story
On the morning Jian Ghomeshi’s verdict was handed down, a protest in support of sexual assault survivors was organized by a local rape crisis centre outside the Toronto courthouse. Here’s why they showed up.
The judge is set to deliver a verdict in Jian Ghomeshi’s criminal trial on Thursday. Here are four possible outcomes.
Before a packed courtroom on Thursday, Ontario Court Justice William Horkins will answer a question that’s hung in the air since one of Canada’s highest profile sexual assault trials wrapped six weeks ago: Will Jian Ghomeshi walk?
Horkins must decide whether the former CBC radio star is guilty of four counts of sexual assault and one of overcoming resistance by choking, or if there is enough reasonable doubt to warrant an acquittal.
Despite speculation (based on Horkins’s previous rulings and defence lawyer Marie Henein’s attacks on the credibility of the case’s three complainants) that Ghomeshi will be acquitted, the outcome isn’t a sure bet. Here are four possibilities. Read the full story
Cosby has launched a lawsuit against Andrea Constand. If Jian Ghomeshi is acquitted, here’s what legal action he could take.
Cosby is suing Constand, her mother and the National Enquirer tabloid for breaking a confidentiality agreement drawn up in 2006 — their participation in the revived criminal investigation into whether he drugged and sexually abused Constand, he argues, amounts to a breach of contract.
While Canada’s legal system prevents the same kind of action, the move raises an interesting question as the nation awaits a decision in the Jian Ghomeshi trial: Could the former CBC personality sue the women who brought him to court? Read the full story
Watch: Sarah Boesveld on covering the Jian Ghomeshi trial
Chatelaine’s senior writer speaks about the case and her coverage of it.
Crown attorney Michael Callaghan and both of Jian Ghomeshi’s defence lawyers presented their final arguments to the court.
The three women who brought complaints against Jian Ghomeshi may have been targeted for inconsistent memory — not surprising, Crown attorney Michael Callaghan said, given the passage of time. They may have shared details at the very last minute about subsequent encounters with Ghomeshi — there is, he noted, much shame around sexual assault. They may have discussed aspects of the case — he described it as a support network, not a plot for sabotage. And it doesn’t change one fundamental truth, Callaghan told the court: “All were unshaken in their allegations that they were assaulted by Mr. Ghomeshi. Read the full story
Watch: A recap of the Jian Ghomeshi trial
With closing arguments submitted, Anne Kingston of Maclean’s reflects on the eight-day trial.
Expert witnesses are rarely called in sexual assault trials — the assumption being that the judge doesn’t need an expert to explain how a survivor might behave.
The absence of expert witnesses in sexual assault cases, however, isn’t unusual: Sunny Marriner, executive director of the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre, says she has yet to see an expert called in a sexual assault trial, but she’s also yet to see a sexual assault case go before a jury. That echoes what many experts told Chatelaine: That in judge-only trials, the Crown doesn’t believe they need to educate a justice about how victims experience traumas (and perhaps don’t want to insult judges by trying). Read the full story
A statement from Lucy Decoutere’s friend and co-star, meant to corroborate the complainant’s allegations against Jian Ghomeshi, is entered into evidence.
Sarah Dunsworth said her friend Lucy DeCoutere (who is “not a big dater”) called her after the date with Jian Ghomeshi and told her about the choking. “Is this normal?” DeCoutere asked her. “No, that’s…it’s really not normal,” Dunsworth replied. The assault “came from out of nowhere,” and really “freaked [DeCoutere] out,” Dunsworth told police. The two had discussed the assault “off and on over the last 10 years.” Facebook messages and texts between the pair around the time DeCoutere came forward with her allegations were also entered into evidence. Read the full story
By pointing to thousands of private messages between two of the complainants, the defence will argue that the women colluded with each other.
That ongoing communication is crucial to supporting a major plank of Jian Ghomeshi’s defence: that two complainants colluded with each other. “Evidence of similar incidents of sexual assault on strangers is considered highly reliable, because you have different people who don’t know each other saying the same thing,” defence lawyer John Naverrete explains. “How would that happen?” In this instance, Marie Henein would argue that it happened because the complainants traded notes. Read the full story
In a short day at court, the judge decided the Crown could call a witness to corroborate Lucy DeCourtere’s allegations against Jian Ghomeshi.
When Lucy DeCoutere was on the stand last Friday, Marie Henein, Ghomeshi’s lawyer, accused the witness of “recent fabrication” — specifically, that she lied about the assault in order to gain notoriety. When Witness 3 was on the stand yesterday, Henein charged that she colluding with DeCoutere. Today, Crown counsel Michael Callaghan sought to call a new witness he says can corroborate DeCoutere’s allegation that she was choked and slapped by Ghomeshi. Read the full story
The court hears that the third complainant exchanged thousands of messages with Lucy DeCoutere and one sexual act with Jian Ghomeshi.
Witness three — whose identity is protected by a publication ban — told the Crown that Jian Ghomeshi smothered her and bit her without her consent while they were making out on a Toronto park bench in July 2003. On another night, they went to a bar together downtown. There she recalled running into a writer who asked how long she and Ghomeshi had been seeing each other; she said Ghomeshi replied, “Oh, no, we’re re just f—ing.” Read the full story
Marie Henein’s cross-examination in the Jian Ghomeshi trial seemed to catch the Crown — and the complainants — by surprise. How come?
Last week, the defence dropped its bombshells one after the other. The bikini photo. The stack of emails combed for flirtatious banter. The “love” letter. When defence attorney Marie Henein finished cross-examining two complainants in the Jian Ghomeshi trial last week, an uncomfortable question lingered: Did those witnesses have any idea this barrage of evidence was coming? Read the full story
Her lawyer says “she wants survivors of violence to know that what they do in the aftermath in no way changes the truth.”
Just over an hour after the Jian Ghomeshi trial adjourned for the weekend, the lawyer for complainant Lucy DeCoutere delivered this statement on the steps of Old City Hall courthouse in downtown Toronto. Read the full story
During a dramatic cross-examination, intimate emails and one “love letter” Lucy DeCoutere sent Ghomeshi after the alleged assault were read to the court.
Lucy DeCoutere told the Crown earlier this week that she sent emails to Ghomeshi after the alleged assault on July 4, 2003 but didn’t remember the contents, except that they were friendly in tone. Lawyer Marie Henein produced those emails and plucked some lines to read aloud: “I think you are magic and would love to see you.” (July 17, 2003.) “I’m in town and am gonna call you [sic] cell phone and ask you to play with me … in a manner of speaking … so you have fair warning.” (Nov 24, 2003.) And she asked DeCoutere to read an email she sent the day after the alleged incident: “You kicked my ass last night and that makes me want to f— your brains out.” Read the full story
A full day of examination for Lucy DeCoutere — the only named complainant in this case — ended with a cliffhanger from Jian Ghomeshi’s lawyer.
The day ended with a return to those “salacious emails,” ones Henein alleged DeCoutere feared Ghomeshi would use to “destroy me.” DeCoutere had told police about the existence of the emails but not their content: “I just don’t know what’s in them,” she testified, having failed to find them. The first complainant was blindsided on Tuesday by emails sent to Ghomeshi, Henein noted, and hours after that testimony, DeCoutere’s lawyer contacted the Crown so she could give an additional statement.
“Do you want to tell the court the real conversation — the one you have not told anyone here today?” Henein asked, voice raised. “You want to tell the truth?” Read the full story
Justice William Horkins rejected a media lawyer’s request to release a photo featuring a bikini-clad complainant. Good call, judge.
Privacy concerns aren’t the only problem with the argument to release the photo — it’s that a picture of the complainant in a red string bikini tells us absolutely nothing about whether she was assaulted. You know what’s just as relevant to the facts of this case? A photo of a well-composed charcuterie plate — and these nine others. Read the full story
Jian Ghomeshi’s defence showed that a complainant contacted Ghomeshi after he allegedly assaulted her. An expert explains why this may not be unusual behaviour.
A core piece of defence lawyer Marie Henein’s cross-examination Tuesday boiled down to one question: If the witness was so traumatized by Jian Ghomeshi, why would she send him two emails more than a year after the alleged assault? This question — of why a survivor of assault might reach out to her abuser — has come up in the case of Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University student who carried her mattress around campus to protest her rapist’s continued presence at the school. Andrea Constand maintained some contact with Bill Cosby after he drugged and allegedly assaulted her at his home in 2004.
Following the relentless cross-examination on Twitter reveals — in real time — what sexual-assault complainants face on the stand.
The courtroom only holds about 100 spectators, but any of us can witness the trial in real time. Several journalists and activists are live-tweeting the proceedings, including my colleague Sarah Boesveld, providing an ongoing account of the testimony of the first complainant and her cross-examination by Ghomeshi’s lawyer Marie Henein. Over the past two days, I’ve checked in several dozen times on Twitter, reading the threads with a mixture of sympathy for the women and shame over my own curiosity. But more than anything, I’ve been struck by how this trial has exposed — in real time — what sexual-assault complainants face on the stand. Read the full story
During intense cross-examination from Jian Ghomeshi’s lawyer, the first complainant describes an email she sent to the accused as “bait.”
Lawyer Marie Henein presented the witness with an email she sent to Jian Ghomeshi at 3:03 am on January 16, 2004, a year after she said the second assault took place. The email is friendly, Henein noted, punctuated with exclamation points and containing both compliments about his career and her contact information. “Now you’re inviting the man who traumatized you to contact you by email?” Henein asked. “Are you prepared to say you lied under oath?” The witness said she used the email as “bait,” so she could ask Ghomeshi “why did he violently punch me in the head?” Read the full story
The first of three complainants took the stand and faced intense cross-examination from Jian Ghomeshi’s lawyer.
It was expected that Marie Henein, Ghomeshi’s attorney, 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. Read the full story
Today one of Canada’s most high-profile sexual assault trials began. Activist and educator Farrah Khan offers some ways you can support survivors.
1. Survivors are listening. When you talk/post/tweet about the Jian Ghomeshi trial and shame or blame the survivors, we are listening. We are judging if we can trust you with what we were subjected to. Think about what you say before you post. If people in your life say victim-blaming statements check in with them and share why these are damaging. Read the full story
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. Read the full story
The defence, the prosecution, the judge and the witnesses: These are the key participants in Jian Ghomeshi’s case.
The defence: Marie Henein
Much attention will be paid to Ghomeshi’s defence attorney, Marie Henein (pictured above). Trumpeted by Toronto Life as the “smartest, toughest, most sought-after” defence lawyer in the city if not the country, she represented former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant when he was charged with criminal negligence and dangerous driving causing death (charges that were later withdrawn). Her cross-examinations have been likened to a machete chop; her treatment of the three complainants in Ghomeshi’s trial might seem ruthless. allegations from three women who say Ghomeshi was sexually violent to them without their consent. Read the full story
Here, the big issues, questions and tactics expected to arise during the proceedings.
Former CBC Radio star Jian Ghomeshi has spent more than a year on trial in the court of public opinion. On Monday, his trial in the court of law will begin in downtown Toronto, blocks from where he helped make Q CBC Radio’s flagship show.
Chatelaine will be in court to report on the proceedings. To begin with, we asked legal experts what they think will be the big issues and questions expected to arise during the trial. allegations from three women who say Ghomeshi was sexually violent to them without their consent. Read the full story
Jian Ghomeshi’s trial begins next week. Here’s an overview of the events leading up to his court date.
Thursday, Oct. 24, 2014: The CBC announces Jian Ghomeshi is taking “undetermined” leave “to deal with some personal issues.” Many assume it has to do with the death of Ghomeshi’s father, with whom he was very close.
Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014: The CBC releases a statement in the afternoon announcing that its “relationship with Jian Ghomeshi has come to an end,” thanks to some “information” that had recently come to their attention. An hour later, Ghomeshi’s PR firm says Ghomeshi is suing the CBC for $50-million. That evening, Ghomeshi posts a lengthy statement to Facebook saying he has been “fired from the CBC because of the risk of my private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer.” He details his interest in “rough sex” and says all of these activities have been consensual. A few hours later, the Toronto Star publishes allegations from three women who say Ghomeshi was sexually violent to them without their consent. Read the full story
It’s been exactly one year since Jian Ghomeshi was fired from the CBC, the first in a series of events that would lead to his arrest. We asked seven women to reflect on how that day affected their work and their lives.
Exactly one year ago, on October 26, 2014, the CBC cut ties with its golden boy, Jian Ghomeshi. Regardless of how Ghomeshi’s trial plays out in 2016, we’re still feeling this scandal’s repercussions a year later. It led to thousands of conversations about sexual violence, workplace harassment and abuses of power. For those at the core of it — the survivors who came forward, the CBC employees who lost their jobs and Ghomeshi’s family — the fallout is ongoing and severe. But even for many further afield — crisis workers and policymakers, journalists and former colleagues — the scandal has had a powerful, lasting effect. We asked seven women to look back at the past year and explain how that day impacted their lives and their work. Read the full story
Since speaking out about Ghomeshi, the Trailer Park Boys actress has been the centre of a national conversation about sexual assault.
Like the rest of the country, Lucy DeCoutere watched on TV as Jian Ghomeshi was engulfed by press outside a Toronto courthouse back in November. Her gut reaction was compassion. “He’s in the middle of this scrum, can’t move, with his mom and his lawyer,” says the 44-year-old Canadian actress, best known for playing Lucy on Trailer Park Boys.
Then came DeCoutere’s second thought: I’m next. Read the full story
Ghomeshi is currently required to reside under his mother’s roof. We asked a criminal-defence lawyer to explain the logistics of bail conditions.
Jian Ghomeshi’s legal team appeared in court this morning and was granted additional time to go over documents before setting a date for the preliminary inquiry into the sexual assault and overcoming resistance by choking charges facing the former Q host. Currently, the conditions of Ghomeshi’s bail — set at $100,000 — demand that he remain in Ontario and reside under his mother’s roof. Why does our criminal-justice system mandate that a 47-year-old man live with his mom? Read the full story
What’s life like for an alleged victim in a high-profile sexual assault case? A step-by-step look at the legal and personal implications of telling your story in court.
Jian Ghomeshi’s accusers face a series of incredibly complicated legal hurdles: months of hearings, a trial, the ensuing media circus and, finally, a verdict. On top of that, as their personal lives are scrutinized by lawyers, it is very likely that these women are contending with complex emotional and psychological trauma. We asked criminal-defense lawyer Alison Mackay and former Crown prosecutor Sandy Garossino to explain, in detail, the legal process complainants can expect when pursuing a conviction. Farrah Khan, an advocate and counsellor with Toronto’s Barbra Schlifer Clinic, provides insight into the personal challenges they can experience. Read the full story
Feminism goes viral as abused and silenced women find their voices on social media. It’s a movement that’s young, vocal and thoroughly wired — and it’s a lot bigger than Jian Ghomeshi.
Over the past week, a series of disturbing sexual assault allegations have been levelled against former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi. These accounts have unspooled not, as they once might have, in portioned-out instalments in the daily papers and the nightly news. Nor is the arc of the discussion being determined by an editorial board or an executive producer. Instead, the story has been built collectively, barn-raising style, out of its raw materials by thousands of friends and followers, most strangers to one another. First someone contributed a traditional news report, then someone else organized tweets on Storify, then another shared a Facebook post, and on it went, link by link. In comment feeds, facts of the case were scrutinized: Who knew what and when did they know it? Over the course of an afternoon — an hour, even — opinions have been swayed and theories debated, then discarded. Read the full story