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Everything You Need To Know About The Second Week Of The Ghomeshi Trial

A third witness testified the former broadcaster sexually assaulted her, lots of procedural stuff happened, the Crown argued that the witnesses not be judged by inconsistencies and Ghomeshi's defence said they were all liars.

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The sexual assault trial of disgraced former CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi came to a close this week. Last week, the court heard from two witnesses who said Ghomeshi sexually assaulted them in 2002 and 2003. His defence team attacked their credibility by suggesting their stories were inconsistent, and by presenting "flirtatious" and "sexual" communication with Mr. Ghomeshi sent after the alleged incidents.

Here are the key takeaways from the trial's second, and final, week.

1. The third witness in the trial said Ghomeshi assaulted her on a park bench one night in the summer of 2003.

Alexandra Newbould / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The witness — whose identity is protected by a publication ban — told the court they were kissing when Ghomeshi put his hands around her neck and began squeezing. "I realized at that point that there was something not right about that," she said. "Some kind of switch had happened — it wasn't the same person that I was there with."

She said Ghomeshi then covered her mouth, impeding her ability to breathe. "I tried to get out of it but then his hand was on my mouth, sort of smothering me."

A few nights later, the witness said she and Ghomeshi went to a bar together in downtown Toronto. They ran into a writer he knew who she said asked Ghomeshi how long they had been seeing each other. "Oh, we're just fucking," he said, according to the witness.

Not long after this, the witness said they were at the same party and got into an argument in Ghomeshi's car outside. He told her a friend of hers was "manipulative" and trying to "control her" — something she objected to.

"I got out of the car, slammed the door, told him he was crazy and to never call me again," she said.

2. Just three days before taking the stand, the third witness revealed to police a sexual encounter with Ghomeshi she'd previously omitted. It took place after the alleged assault. On the stand, she admitted to misleading the police.


In her initial statement to police, the witness said after the alleged assault she made an effort to avoid being alone with Ghomeshi.

However, three days before she testified, she gave a new statement to police. She now said that on the night she and Ghomeshi went to the bar together, he came back to her residence where she gave him a hand job. He also slept there for a short time, though not overnight.

During cross examination, the witness said it was embarrassing to reveal this information, and that having Ghomeshi over was a mistake.

"You never tell [the police] about being together at your home, giving him a hand job and him sleeping," said Marie Henein, Ghomeshi's defence lawyer. "Do you accept that that's a lie?"

"It's an omission. It's an embarrassing thing to say," the witness said. "I tried to stay in public with him as best as I could. It was a misjudgment and an absolute mistake."

When asked if by omitting the information she accepted that she was being "deliberately misleading" to police, the witness replied, "Yes."

3. Ghomeshi's defence suggested the third witness had colluded with Lucy DeCoutere, the second woman to testify in the case. The two had exchanged at least 5,000 messages in the 15 months leading up to the trial.


Between October 29, 2014 and September 24, 2015, the two exchanged compliments and support for one another. The witness wished DeCoutere "big fat sloppy kisses and a huge hug" and told her "you are honest to god my hero."

They also exchanged insults about Ghomeshi, calling him a "prick," "shitshow," and an "Arabian princess." (Ghomeshi is of Persian, not Arab, ancestry.)

The witness conceded that several times during the course of their correspondence, she and DeCoutere discussed the legal process, the Crown and their case. (They had been ordered by the judge to not discuss the case in order to preserve the autonomy of their allegations in court.)

The defence noted the two women at times shared a lawyer, Gillian Hnatiw, as well as a publicist. A Toronto police detective had previously urged the witness not to use the same lawyer as DeCoutere.


4. A fourth witness was allowed to submit her testimony that Lucy DeCoutere told her in 2004 that Ghomeshi assaulted her.

Odeon Films

Sarah Dunsworth, a colleague of DeCoutere's on Trailer Park Boys, was snowed in after inclement weather in Halifax. That didn't prevent Judge William Horkins from allowing her to submit a written transcript of her testimony, which had been given to police.

The crown said the statement corroborates DeCoutere's story, and pushes back against suggestions of collusion between her and the third witness.

Ghomeshi's defence responded that "a witness who simply repeats the same story over and over is not necessarily credible or reliable."

5. In its closing arguments, the Crown argued that it does not matter what the claimants did or did not do after the alleged assaults. The question is whether they were sexually assaulted.


"The witnesses were resolute and clear in their allegations that Mr. Ghomeshi assaulted them," Crown prosecutor Michael Callahan told the court. "The evidence on these key points was steadfast."

"You can accept parts of a witness' evidence, and reject other parts. There are a number of different tools for assessing evidence. There is the ability to consider inconsistencies with evidence."

6. Ghomeshi's defence said their case is not about imperfect memories or the behaviour of alleged victims; their contention was that the claimants lied.

Alexandra Newbould / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Marie Henein began her closing arguments by reminding the judge that the burden is on the crown to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. She said this standard of proof is "one of the principal safeguards that ensures no innocent person is convicted."

Henein said the defence accepts that in sexual assault cases any after-the-fact behaviour by claimants does not demonstrate they weren't assaulted. "We know, this is not news, that in certain circumstances, women will continue to interact with people who abused them," she said. "That is not what is in play in this case."

"The extraordinary thing about this case is that all three witnesses withheld information from police and from the Crown," she said.

Henein went through each witness:

* The first witness didn't disclose that she sent Ghomeshi two emails after she said they had ended communication. (The second email contained a picture of her in a bikini.)

* Lucy DeCoutere did not recall emails and a handwritten letter she sent Ghomeshi after she says he choked her. Less than a day after the alleged incident DeCoutere wrote that she wanted to "fuck his brains out," and less than a week later told Ghomeshi "I love your hands."

* The third witness omitted a sexual encounter with Ghomeshi when interviewed by police.

Henein argued that each witness lied, and that the truth about their interactions with Ghomeshi only came out when they were confronted in cross examination.

"The truth was not told in examination-in-chief in this case, " said Henein, urging the judge not to rely on the testimony of witnesses who "will decide for themselves what is and isn't relevant."

She said that victims of abuse respond to life experiences in lots of ways, "but not lying repeatedly."

"No witness enjoys a presumption of truthfulness."

7. Outside of the courtroom, NDP MP Charlie Angus posted on Facebook about Ghomeshi, whom he has known "casually for 25 plus years." Angus said "nobody close to Jian even pretends he is innocent."

Facebook: charlie.angus.58

Angud wrote that he'd learned five things from the trial, including:

* "That a woman who remembers being beaten is not considered credible because she didn't know the make of his car."

* "That Jian flourished as a predator in what should have been the safest organization in the country and that the legal system continues to fail women."

The court will reconvene for the Judge's decision on March 24.

Sean Craig is a reporter based in Toronto.

Contact Sean Craig at

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