Weekend Reads Jian Ghomeshi trial: why the prosecution's case fell apart
Statement from Kathryn Borel on Jian Ghomeshi
Statement from Kathryn Borel on Jian GhomeshiHi 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 wrongdoing and apologized to me.
The case against Jian Ghomeshi didn’t really begin to crack until the emails turned up.
On the opening day of the trial, the former radio presenter’s lawyer, Marie Henein,. How long did the police interview last? Did she realize that she was wrong about the color of the defendant’s car?
The questions showed some holes in the witness’s memory as she recalled events from more than a decade ago. But it was not the ruthless cross-examinations for which the steely Toronto defense lawyer has become notorious.
Ghomeshi case not over before the former radio host speaks
Ghomeshi case not over before the former radio host speaksAs of late Monday afternoon, the Ministry of the Attorney General would not confirm that the case could be settled without a trial. “The ministry does not comment on criminal cases before the courts, other than in court on the record,” ministry spokesman Brendan Crawley told Maclean’s in an email.
. The witness had testified that Ghomeshi yanked her hair and punched her three times in the side of the head – a traumatizing event that caused her new pain whenever she heard Ghomeshi’s voice.
With a cool demeanor, Henein displayed a blown-up copies of emails the woman sent Ghomeshi after the alleged assault. “Good to see you again!” read the first email. “Your show is still great.” Another email contained a photo of the woman in a bathing suit.
“Your truth keeps changing,” Henein said.
On Thursday, to the roars of protesters outside the Old City Hall courthouse,. In an scorching 25-page verdict, Horkins of four counts of sexual assault and one count related to an accusation of choking.
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.
It was not an outcome many could have predicted even a few months ago. And it might not have happened without Henein, whom one former client described as “my shark”.
The accusations against Ghomeshi first emerged in fall 2014, shocking the country as eventually more than 20 women and one man came forward to say he had slapped, punched, bit, choked, groped or smothered them. But in the courtroom at Old City Hall, any certainties about the case quickly dissipated.
Henein’s trial strategy relied on the witnesses’ failure to divulge all the details of their relationships with Ghomeshi to police from the start, and on scrutinizing small inconsistencies in their stories.
It was not unusual for Henein to dwell for a half an hour on a single detail that had shifted as women spoke to police, the media and at trial: did Ghomeshi choke you with one hand or two? Did he yank you by your hair extensions, or were you not wearing hair extensions at all?
'Not proven:' Perhaps Canadian courts needed third option for the Ghomeshi verdict
The courts need another option.
Whether those lapses occurred on purpose or due to the normal failures of memory, they permitted Henein to paint the women as unreliable on the specifics. The verdict revealed that those inconsistencies combined to poison the women’s central accusations.
, Horkins said the witnesses’ accusations were “tainted by outright deception”.
Henein never put Ghomeshi on the stand, and she never, through her questioning, presented an alternative explanation for the events described by his accusers. (Before the trial, Ghomeshi claimed publicly that the encounters, while rough, were consensual.)
To many, the effect was that the trial of Jian Ghomeshi became a test of his accusers.
But her strategy was a risky one, said Luc LeClair, a Toronto lawyer who has defended several high-profile criminal suspects. Without Ghomeshi’s explanation to offer, Henein’s hands were tied when it came to confronting the women’s core testimony.
“She must have decided that he simply couldn’t testify,” LeClair said. “And with that decision, she had no other version of events to put forward. How are you going to confront the witness about their central narrative?”
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.
“She doesn’t directly say whether it happened or it didn’t happen, because she can’t,” he continued. “So what she did, in a very masterful and forceful way, was attack everything around it, and hope there’s not enough left the judge sees as credible.”
Henein’s defense was also aided by flubs on the part the prosecution. The Crown’s witnesses were firm in their testimony and appeared ready for Henein’s notoriously aggressive mode of cross-examination. But when Henein began to lay out emails, letters, and photo evidence that she said contradicted their testimony, the women and Crown prosecutors seemed equally thrown.
She startled the first witness with an email the woman sent to Ghomeshi containing a photo of her in a bikini. The email, sent months after Ghomeshi allegedly punched her and yanked her hair, appeared to contradict the woman’s testimony that after Ghomeshi assaulted her, she was too traumatized to even hear his voice.
The second witness to testify was Lucy DeCouture, an actor who claimed Ghomeshi choked and slapped her. Henein confronted DeCoutere – who waived the publication ban on naming witnesses – with a photo showing the two of them “cuddling” in a park the day after the alleged assault. In a moment of high drama, Henein asked DeCoutere to read a handwritten letter she wrote to Ghomeshi following their encounter. The letter read: “I love your hands.”
Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services reaches out to survivors in wake of Ghomeshi verdict
The acquittal of former CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi has sparked a powerful conversation about sexual assault, and Alberta advocates believe it will act as a necessary catalyst for change. Ghomeshi, 48, was acquitted last week on four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking involving three women. The heavily publicized trial […]The acquittal of former CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi has sparked a powerful conversation about sexual assault, and Alberta advocates believe it will act as a necessary catalyst for change.
Henein treated each new submission like a bombshell, sometimes ending a day of testimony on a cliffhanger. “Do you want to take a moment and tell the truth of the real conversation that was going on?” she asked DeCoutere on her first day of testimony. “Not the one you’ve been reporting to the media, not the one in the press releases.”
DeCoutere gave a puzzled response, and Henein asked for court to be adjourned for the day.
Pressed to explain their lapses, the witnesses replied that they had forgotten the letters, the flowers, the emails. As the trial wore on, two of the women gave prosecutors new information. DeCoutere told the Crown that she sent Ghomeshi flowers after the alleged attack. A third witness, who claimed that Ghomeshi squeezed her throat, told prosecutors that after the attack, she had a consensual sexual encounter with Ghomeshi at her house. During her testimony, she acknowledged that Henein’s discovery of the other witnesses’ emails had compelled her to check her own account.
Finally, Henein used communications between DeCoutere and a friend to suggest a vendetta against Ghomeshi. On Thursday, Horkins said the 5,000 messages between the two showed an “extreme dedication to bringing down Ghomeshi”.
The admissions raised questions about the depth of the prosecutors’ preparation. The crown is prohibited from coaching the witness to the point of ironclad testimony, but it still has some ability to prepare them for tough questions about the evidence.
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.
Observerswhy Callaghan’s team or the women’s attorneys did not comb over the witnesses’ communication with Ghomeshi with the same ferocity as Henein. The best explanation may be that anything the Crown finds, it must disclose to the defense. In DeCoutere’s case, she told police she could not find old communications because she no longer had access to that email account.
Victims’ advocates scrutinized the proceedings as a key test of a judicial system they see as. Numerous appellate court decisions have limited judges’ ability to intervene in particularly brutal cross-examinations. And the defense bar, some legal experts argue, has a history in assault trials of trying to imply women’s sexual histories.
Critics of Henein’s style have not been able to point to anything she said as unethical. They have voiced concerns, however, that the way her cross-examination unfolded could deter victims of sexual violence from coming forward in the future.
High-profile losses for prosecutors can contribute to broad factors that discourage people experiencing sexual assault from working with law enforcement, said Verona Singer, the head of victim services for the Halifax regional police. Without commenting on the details of what took place at trial, she said: “I think there are many victims who will look at this outcome and say, ‘This is what we expected. The criminal justice system is not a good place for victims to go.’”
But the attorney for DeCoutere, Gillian Hnatiw, said it was unfair to lay much blame at Henein’s feet.
“The witnesses were treated, quite frankly, in keeping with how the Canadian criminal justice system permits them to be treated,” Hnatiw said. Henein’s duty was to take fullest advantage of that permissiveness. “It’s a system set up to determine criminal responsibility beyond a reasonable doubt. It advantages the accused in every way, as it is constitutionally required to do.”
Hnatiw acknowledged that it was frustrating to see Henein create reasonable doubt over behavior that is normal for abuse victims,or waiting a long period of time to make a report. But Henein wouldn’t have been able to portray those behaviors as suspicious if the society around her didn’t embrace those same biases, Hnatiw said.
“Reasonable doubt is based on the perspective of whoever is the finder of fact,” Hnatiw said. “They’re always bringing their own personal experiences and biases and perspectives to the ‘reasonable’ standard. And that’s where I think we have to work hard to educate people and push them to align what they think is reasonable.”
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.
Monday, 23 april 2018
"Melania is actually happier with Obama at a funeral than she is with Trump at his inauguration."Melania Trump was beaming while standing next to Barack Obama at the funeral of Barbara Bush, and a photograph of the special moment has gone […]
Tuesday, 24 april 2018
The hashtag #TorontoStrong and #CanadaStrong immediately began appearing all over social media, with people sending messages of love, hope and resilience in the wake of the tragic incident. "We will not allow evil of any stripe to terrorize us. We stand united against these types of […]
Monday, 23 april 2018
Journalist Angel Gahona was fatally shot as he was holding up a cellphone and narrating on Facebook Live about the unrest in Nicaragua over social security reforms.Seconds later a gunshot rings out and Gahona slumps lifeless to the curb. Voices cry his name and someone presses a piece of […]
Monday, 23 april 2018
Prince William brought his children to the hospital to visit their baby brother—and Princess Charlotte was so excited she couldn't help but wave to everyone.This morning at 11:01, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed a baby boy—and five hours later excited siblings Prince George […]
Tuesday, 24 april 2018
The suspect in the Toronto van attack that killed nine people and injured 16 others is a 25-year-old man named Alek Minassian, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said on Monday. CBC TV did not cite sources. A driver in a white van plowed into a crowd in north Toronto, according to […]
Monday, 23 april 2018
The wait is over for Kateri and Jay Schwandt: It's a boy! (Again!)The proud parents already had 13 sons ranging in age from 25 to 2 when they became pregnant with what they feel will probably be their final […]
Tuesday, 24 april 2018
The Toronto Police Department has identified the man suspected of killing 10 people and injured 15 more in a van attackon Monday. The Toronto Police Department has identified the man suspected of killing 10 people and injured 15 more in a van attack on […]
Tuesday, 24 april 2018
A white van collided with numerous pedestrians in Toronto, Canada, on Monday, Toronto Police said.Canada's Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said there are some casualties from the collisions, but didn't offer […]