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

19:51  07 december  2016
19:51  07 december  2016 Source:   Metro News

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.

Mr. Ghomeshi admitted no criminal wrongdoing, but apologized to Ms. Borel in the course of the proceedings. He will no longer face trial. Mr. Ghomeshi was previously found not guilty of sex-assault charges in a separate case involving three women, four counts of sexual assault and one of overcoming resistance by choking. The excruciating experience of being a woman in court with Ghomeshi . Metro News. ' Not proven :' Perhaps Canadian courts needed third option for the Ghomeshi verdict .

Ghomeshi verdict was fair. Jian Ghomeshi arrives at a Toronto court with his attorney Marie Henein where Re: Ghomeshi trial proves one thing: we need a different system, March 25. On the other hand, and perhaps paradoxically, Judge Horkins excoriated the Ghomeshi witnesses for their clumsy

Jian Ghomeshi arrives at the Toronto courthouse for the verdict in his sexual assault trial, on Thursday, March 24, 2016.: 'Not proven:' Perhaps Canadian courts needed third option for the Ghomeshi verdict © THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young 'Not proven:' Perhaps Canadian courts needed third option for the Ghomeshi verdict

The courts need another option.

On Thursday, Ontario Justice William Horkins found former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi “not guilty” of five sexual-assault-related charges involving three different women.

Legally, it was the right decision. But it isn’t the right conclusion. As Judge Horkins acknowledged, not guilty “is not the same as deciding in any positive way these events never happened.”

In our legal system, the Crown must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” someone committed a crime. Defendants don’t have to prove they’re innocent.

Rehtaeh Parsons' dad sums up crushing reality of Ghomeshi verdict

  Rehtaeh Parsons' dad sums up crushing reality of Ghomeshi verdict 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.

In order to restore the domain and continue the service you will have to contact your registrar immediately. Jian Ghomeshi could resuscitate his career if he’s acquitted, PR experts say.

Loading 17 hours ago Canada Scheduled speeches by Ghomeshi ’s lawyer spark

But sexual assaults are often he-said/she-said. If the defendant doesn’t testify, and if the assaults happened long ago, there is — the judge noted — “no tangible evidence.” The court has “only the sworn evidence of each complainant, standing on its own, to be measured against a very exacting standard of proof.”

That’s where the Ghomeshi case collapsed.

The defence reasonably honed in on “dramatic non-disclosures,” highlighting contradictions to the women’s court testimony.

One example: “L.R. was firm in her evidence … she chose never to have any further contact” with Ghomeshi. But the defence confronted her with after-the-act “flirtatious” emails, including one including a bikini photo of her. She then claimed the emails were part of a “plan” to confront him.

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.

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That might have been plausible if disclosed earlier. Inconsistency is not a fatal flaw, but failing to disclose shreds credibility. Her testimony, said the judge, revealed conduct “completely inconsistent” with her sworn testimony “the mere thought of Jian Ghomeshi traumatized her.”

Who’s to blame: police and prosecutors for not insisting the women fully disclose, or the women for not disclosing? Defence lawyers confront prosecution witnesses with “inconsistent statements” in trials of every sort every day. Someone should have asked the right questions in advance.

Instead of upending our entire criminal justice system — do we really want to eliminate the presumption of innocence, or tell the defence it can’t challenge the credibility of witnesses? — we should consider the Scottish option of a third verdict: “Not proven.” Twenty per cent of Scottish trials end that way.

Such a verdict,” noted the Scotsman in an editorial, may be “unsatisfactory to both parties, the aggrieved finding the accused escape, the accused leaving the court without having had his name cleared. But this is often fair.”

It certainly would have been more fair in this case.

Stephen Kimber is a professor of journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax and an award-winning writer, editor and broadcaster. Halifax Matters runs every Monday.

The excruciating experience of being a woman in court with Ghomeshi .
I doubt a single journalist walked into the Jian Ghomeshi sexual assault trial that first day of February suspicious of the heart of the allegations, or the three women behind them. And I doubt even one walked out more than a month later doubting an acquittal was right. But it was nevertheless excruciating to be a woman, sitting in the gallery watching the scandal diminish into thin testimony, easily batted away by the judge in his not-guilty verdict.

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