Jian Ghomeshi, Former CBC Broadcaster, Found Not Guilty of Sexual Assault
Justice William Horkins announced the not-guilty verdicts for the former Moxy Fruvous band member and CBC radio host at the Old City Hall courthouse.
A Toronto judge on Thursday has cleared Jian Ghomeshi of all charges in a sex assault trial that made headlines beyond Canada's borders.
Justice William Horkins announced the not-guilty verdicts for the former Moxy Fruvous band member and CBC radio host at the Old City Hall courthouse. Judge Horkins concluded that inconsistencies and at times deception on the part of the complainants led him to doubt the credibility and reliability of their testimony.
"I find Mr. Ghomeshi not guilty on all of these charges," he said. The inconsistencies were marked in what the complainants told the police in pretrial evidence under oath, and what they eventually disclosed during the trial under cross examination, Horkins told the court when delivering his judgment.
"I have no hesitation in concluding that the quality of the evidence in this case is incapable of displacing the presumption of innocence. The evidence fails to prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt," Horkins said in his judgment.
He added that two of the complainants had conspired to "bring down Jian Ghomeshi" by coming forward with allegations. "The evidence of each complainant suffered not just from inconsistences and questionable behavior, but was tainted by outright deception," said Horkins.
Ghomeshi's trial began on Feb. 1, 2016 — the five charges included four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking.
The judge-only trial saw Ghomeshi's lawyer, Marie Henein, successfully undermine the credibility and reliability of three women, including Canadian actress Lucy DeCoutere, who alleged he sexually assaulted them.
The trial heard three witnesses allege the once-popular host of the CBC's q radio show slapped, punched and choked them during romantic dates.
Their testimony alleged incidents that mostly took place in 2002 and 2003. The judge said a "lack of precision" on the part of witnesses recounting events of more than a decade ago was to be expected.
But the court needs to be satisfied testimony is reliable, he added. "It's difficult to have trust in a witness who engages in selectively withholding of information," Horkins said.
Ghomeshi never took the stand in his own defense. As he was acquitted of all charges, the former broadcaster appeared to rock slowly back and forth in his chair with relief before he rose to hug his mother and sister, who had been sitting in the front row of the court.
Outside the courthouse, Ghomeshi and his lawyers left without addressing the media. In chaotic scenes, brief remarks by Crown Prosecutor Michael Callaghan were interrupted by a topless protester who approached his podium to protest the verdict before she was taken into custody by local police.
This article first appeared on Billboard.com.