TORONTO (AP) — The defense lawyer for a former Canadian Broadcast Corp. radio host charged with sexual assault said Thursday the complainants withheld information from police and lied under oath.
Lawyer Marie Henein argued in closing arguments that Jian Ghomeshi should thus be acquitted. Ghomeshi pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking based on alleged incidents involving three women. He is the former host of "Q," a popular radio show on culture heard in Canada and on many U.S. public stations.
Police launched an investigation in 2014 after more than 12 women contacted various media sources to allege that Ghomeshi had assaulted them. The allegations rocked Canada's vaunted public broadcaster and sparked a nationwide conversation about consent and sexual harassment.
All three women complainants in the case made late, damaging revelations after the trial started.
The third witness in the case, whose name is protected by a publication ban, acknowledged that she deliberately misled police when she didn't tell them that she had engaged in some sexual activity with him after the alleged assault took place. The woman testified that she had trouble breathing after Ghomeshi put his hands around her neck as they were making out in a Toronto park. Later she met him again, invited him back to her home and engaged in sexual activity but she didn't tell police or the prosecutor about the invite or the sexual activity until this last Friday.
The first two complainants made revelations after Ghomeshi's lawyer produced damaging email evidence about their interactions with Ghomeshi after the alleged assaults.
Television actress Lucy DeCoutere, the second woman to testify, acknowledged Friday that she told Ghomeshi that she wanted to have sex with him a day after he allegedly choked and slapped her. She did so after Ghomeshi's lawyer produced pleading emails that showed she wanted a relationship with him and that he was "magic." DeCoutere, a star of the TV and film series "Trailer Park Boys," also acknowledged she sent Ghomeshi flowers days after the alleged assault. And in a handwritten love letter days later she wrote: "I love your hands." DeCoutere, who waived her right to have her name not published, had testified that she didn't remember the emails.
The first woman to testify acknowledged that she emailed Ghomeshi a bikini-clad picture of herself a year after he allegedly sexually assaulted her, pulling her hair and punching her in the head. She claimed on the witness stand to have forgotten about the email and another flirtatious email she sent a year after.
"There is not an expert who will testify that perjury is indicative of trauma," Henein said. "What a witness cannot do is lie about their conduct and then say "Oh geez, that's just how victims of trauma behave.'"
Prosecutor Michael Callaghan said their credibility has nothing to do with the way they behaved after the alleged assaults. He argued they were resolute in what happened.
Justice William Horkins said he will deliver his verdict on March 24.
Ghomeshi, who first gained fame as a member of the 1990s satirical pop band Moxy Fruvous, previously defended himself in a 1,500-word statement on Facebook, saying women consented to having "rough sex" with him and that he was the victim of a disgruntled ex-girlfriend. The CBC fired him.
Ghomeshi faces another sex assault trial based on allegations from a fourth complainant in June.