The Ghomeshi Trial: Guilty or not? We’ll find out on March 24th

Trial was expected to last three weeks, but wrapped up after only eight days

by Justine Lewkowicz

It will be another six weeks before Jian Ghomeshi learns his fate, after sitting through eight days of testimony at his sexual assault trial.

All three complainants returned to the courtroom Thursday where just days earlier they re-told their versions of alleged assaults, and where they were each grilled by an experienced defence lawyer on omissions and inconsistencies in their statements.

They sat in the front row as lawyers on both sides, the Crown and defence, gave their closing arguments.

Ghomeshi looked as tired as he has every other day of the trial, never seeming able to sit still for very long.

Crown prosecutor Michael Callaghan was up first, saying the key issues in the trial are the credibility and reliability of the complainants.

He said the judge can accept all, none or part of their testimonies. While there were inconsistencies, Callaghan said that can be a factor of passage of time.

He addressed the women’s behaviour after the alleged assault, about seeing Ghomeshi again, emails two of them sent, about a sexual encounter one of them later had with the former radio host. Callaghan told court that every victim reacts differently to trauma and post-assault behavior should not necessarily be used to assess their credibility.

He added that all three complainants were unshaken in their allegation of assault.

On the other side, defence lawyer Marie Henein said most extraordinary in the trial is that the three women withheld information from police, the Crown and, most importantly, the court. Two of them came forward with new statements at “the 11th hour”, Henein said, because they were concerned they would be contradicted in court.

“This courtroom should not be a game of chicken,” Henein said.

She said that the evidence “falls so far short” and is so “riddled with inconsistencies” that it does not prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt.

Henein ended her comments saying her client should be acquitted.

The judge will return with a verdict on March 24th.