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Ghomeshi found not guilty of all charges in sexual assault trial

CityNews | posted Thursday, Mar 24th, 2016

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Judgement day in the compelling sexual assault trial of Jian Ghomeshi has arrived.

The fallen radio star has been found not guilty in all four counts of sexual assault one count of overcoming resistance by choking by Ontario Court Justice William Horkins today.

“The quality of the evidence failed to prove the case,” Horkins said in delivering the verdict. “The testimony brings reasonable doubt.”

Ghomeshi had previously pleaded not guilty to the five charges against him. Ghomeshi now faces/was facing a maximum sentence of 18 months in jail. The choking charge carried or carries a potential life sentence.

Ghomeshi – who kept a very low profile inside and outside the courtroom – immediately hugged his mother and sister upon hearing the verdict. Because of this acquittal, he now has the option of pursuing a counter lawsuit for defamation or malicious prosecution against his accusers.

Looking back at the trial, the strategic decision not to testify in his own defence likely played a large part in why he walked out of Old City Hall a free man today.

He also has an all-star defence team to thank, Marie Henein and Danielle Robitaille, for using every moment of the trial’s 80 days to break down every fiber of his three complainants’ testimonies.

This trial heard three alleged victims: Trailer Park Boys actress Lucy DeCoutere and two other women who chose to keep their identities protected.

Henein’s fierce cross examination targeted inconsistencies in the women’s accounts of what happened between them and the former broadcaster, some of which allegedly happened over a decade ago. In her closing statements, Henein accused all three women of lying under oath.

The defence consistently produced what several media outlets could only describe as ‘bombshells’ of evidence against each complainant throughout the case.

For the first complainant, Henein presented flirtatious emails sent after alleged assaults in 2002 and 2003, including an infamous bikini photo that was never made public. The emails were brought up in court after the woman testified she never contacted Ghomeshi following a series of violent accounts with him.

DeCoutere was confronted with emails of her own, including one where she expressed a desire to have sex with Ghomeshi after an alleged assault where she was slapped and choked by Ghomeshi against her will. Henein also produced a hand-written letter sent to Ghomeshi days after the alleged assault that ended with the words: “I love your hands.”

The third and final complainant admitted to deliberately withholding information from police. In addition to that, Henein also revealed that the third woman and DeCoutere exchanged thousands of messages discussing their allegations and shared contempt for Ghomeshi.

The 48-year-old disgraced radio host has acknowledged to being into “rough sex” but maintains that it was always consensual.

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