Weekend Reads Rehtaeh Parsons' dad sums up crushing reality of Ghomeshi verdict

19:46  07 december  2016
19:46  07 december  2016 Source:   Huffington Post Canada

Guilty verdict still possible in future Jian Ghomeshi cases, lawyer says

  Guilty verdict still possible in future Jian Ghomeshi cases, lawyer says Jian Ghomeshi was found not guilty of sexually assaulting three women last week, but the disgraced radio host’s legal woes are far from over.

A judge’s decision to acquit former broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi last week highlights how the justice system is designed to fail cases of sexual violence that actually make it to court, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons says.

“We pontificate the institution of justice while claiming it is what makes our society civil, but there is nothing civil to be found in the staggering toll sexual violence takes on our communities and the devastation it causes victims and their families,” Glen Canning wrote on his blog Friday.

His daughter, Rehtaeh, was 17 when she was taken off life support after attempting to hang herself in 2013. Two years earlier, a photo was taken of her throwing up outside a window while a teenage boy gave a thumbs up to the camera while he raped her from behind. That photo was later leaked and circulated at her school.

'Not proven:' Perhaps Canadian courts needed third option for the Ghomeshi verdict

  'Not proven:' Perhaps Canadian courts needed third option for the Ghomeshi verdict The courts need another option.

Canning, who has been a vocal advocate for victims of sexual assault since his daughter’s suicide, spoke outside Toronto’s Old City Hall hours after the Ghomeshi was cleared of five criminal charges. Canning shared his frustration in seeing the justice system fail survivors again.

According to Now Magazine, Canning told the crowd that his faith in the judicial system was extinguished after his daughter’s case went to court — “which ultimately let us down,” he said. In light of the verdict and in relation to his daughter's case, Canning called for a fresh look at an old system:

And I should never, ever have to stand here in front of people talking about the sexual assault of my daughter, and thinking that the police screwing up her case actually probably did her a favour. Going by what we saw in this courtroom, that literally is exactly what they did. And that is a system that has to change.

Ghomeshi, a former CBC Radio host, was found not guilty of four charges of sexual assault and one charge of overcoming resistance by choking.

Not guilty: The surreal final day in the Jian Ghomeshi trial

  Not guilty: The surreal final day in the Jian Ghomeshi trial “I’ve never seen anything like it.” If there was a single refrain to the whole Jian Ghomeshi sexual assault trial, from start to finish — perhaps even the scandal from its breaking moment in the fall of 2014 — that would be it.The not-guilty verdict — widely expected and yet utterly engrossing — wasn’t even the half of it.

During the trial, the defence chipped away at the credibility of the three female accusers under oath. Ghomeshi's lawyer focused on testing their memories of their actions after the alleged sexual assaults.The events allegedly took place over a decade ago, between 2002 and 2003.

Judge made 'right decision': legal communityJustice William Horkins’ analysis of the trial evidence and his decision to acquit Ghomeshi was praised by some lawyers as the "right decision.

"But thousands of protesters across the country marched in solidarity with #IBelieveSurvivors supporters.

A recent poll by Postmedia and Mainstreet Research found 38 per cent of respondents said the Ghomeshi verdict lowered their faith in the judicial system. Within that segment, more women (46 per cent) than men (30 per cent) said Horkins’ decision caused them to lose trust in the courts."

Confidence in our justice system seems to be shaken," Quito Maggi of Mainstreet Research said in a release Friday.

The poll was conducted among 2,017 Toronto residents via landline and cell phone surveys on March 24. The sample has a margin of error of 2.18 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.Ghomeshi is due back in court in June to face a separate sexual assault charge for an incident that allegedly took place at the CBC.

Ghomeshi trial: Everything wrong with sexual assault law .
Brenda Cossman, a law professor at the University of Toronto, says the trial will discourage victims from coming forward.But that does not make the acquittal any less disturbing. 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.

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