• Nono Davis

Ghomeshi Trial Reveals Wider, More Significant Failings of Court

For many years, Jian Ghomeshi helped Canadians form educated opinions about important, global issues through his CBC radio show, the Q. Last year, Ghomeshi was let go from CBC over multiple allegations of using excessive violence during consensual sexual encounters. There is little doubt in the public’s mind that Jian crossed the consensual line during some of his sexual encounters, but if he will actually be punished is a different story.

Ghomeshi’s trial began on February 1st 2016, and was expected to be a slam-dunk trial for the prosecution. However, as Ghomeshi’s lawyer examined the victim’s stories, it was shown that they told the police very edited versions of what happened. Details like how there were continued flirty texts, dates and even sexual encounters with Ghomeshi following the sexual assaults weren’t shared with the police. In fact, the victims told the police during the initial stages of the investigations that following the assaults they cut off all contact with Ghomeshi. The victims didn’t share this information as they felt it was embarrassing and didn’t need to be included, but Ghomeshi’s lawyer is using it to tarnish their credibility.

While Ghomeshi’s lawyer is doing this to expose the victim’s lack of truthfulness with the police and to raise doubt, the media is using it to question if the assault even happened. The media is buying into the notion that sexual assault victims need to respond a certain way, and that if the victims don’t then they are lying. This is a major trial with national attention, and the level of scrutiny for the victim’s behavior by the media is shocking. This scrutiny could convince other sexual assault victims that coming forward to the police just isn’t worth it, and that there’s little that they can do. This is another example of the Canadian justice system mishandling women's rights, and changes must be made.

Over the course of the eight-day trial, Ghomeshi’s lawyer was able to insert much doubt in the public’s mind. The prosecution had to prove that Jian Ghomeshi was guilty beyond reasonable doubt, but with so many questions about the victim’s actions, it’s unlikely that they were able to sway the judge. As the judge is expected to reach his verdict sometime in March, it will be interesting to see if Ghomeshi will seek compensation from the CBC for wrongful termination, or even try to go back on the air if he is found innocent.