Anne Kingston reflects on the Ghomeshi courtroom experience

Maclean’s watched Ghomeshi’s first sex-assault trial from beginning to end.


Few reporters followed Jian Ghomeshi’s first round of courtroom drama as closely as Maclean’s senior writer Anne Kingston, who guided readers from the trial’s first days, through the testimony of three sex-assault complainants, to the not-guilty verdict and what happens next. Kingston also put defence counsel Marie Henein under the microscope.

Now, as Ghomeshi awaits his next trial on sex-assault charges in June, Kingston reflects on what’s already gone down at the courtroom inside Toronto’s old city hall. She takes us through what we don’t know about what it was like in the room, what she thought of the so-called Twitter effect on proceedings, and the most memorable moment so far.


Anne Kingston reflects on the Ghomeshi courtroom experience

  1. Ms. Kingston,

    THIS Video Is A Move In The Right Direction, However “Acting As An Apologist For Those Who Have Committed Perjury & Collusion in Court” Is The Wrong Move When One Is Exposed To And Confronted With The Overwhelming Evidence That: “Your Three Heroes Were/Are Fraudsters”.

    AND As I Have Suggested Before, An Interview with The “Publicist” Would Be A Good Start To Redeem Yourself.

  2. Ms. Kingston,
    Every time I read one of your articles on this subject you come across as so biased that your producer should step in and stop you from publishing such trite.
    Ms. Henein did a superb job as a gifted lawyer and defended her client is a very professional and appropriate way. And she treated the complainants quite professionally and civilly as well. What was on trial here was not whether Ghomeshi was into rough sex-he clearly admitted that publicly-but whether it was offensive to the complainants. And it was Henein’s role to show that it wasn’t. When the complainants either wanted to or actually went back for more after the first event they are one of two things-masochistic or prepared to put up with it to be on the arm of one of the “rich and famous”. In either case, they are as sick as Ghomeshi. And to lie and be found out is perjury. So the ones who got lucky were the perjurers-they should have gone to jail but didn’t!!

  3. Does anyone seriously believe that Ms. Kingston– by taking a few (rebutted) snipes from the safety of the sidelines — really put Marie Henein “under the microscope”? What do we think would have happened if Kingston (or any other feminist commentator) had actually sat across Henein and tried to put her under a microscope? Henein would have taken them to school without breaking a sweat. Watch You Tube for “Rex Murphy Marie Henein Interview”

    Though Marie Henein performed with excellence, her impact on the trial is a bit overblown. The real ‘x-factor’ of this trial was the tangible evidence relating to the three accusers and fourth witness. In this trial with these three discredited accusers and the tangible evidence, even if (a) the defense lawyer, prosecution lawyer and judge were substituted with a new cast of characters and (b) the Canadian criminal justice system was substituted with another advanced country’s criminal justice system (e.g., Britain, Germany, U.S.) — the outcome would probably be an acquittal (or more likely such a weak case would not have had charges laid or been brought to trial). Any other competent defense lawyer would have also dominated and any other prosecutor would have also been hamstrung. The reality is that the three accusers set up any Crown prosecutor for failure by telling the media, the police, the prosecutor and the court dubious versions of their stories (moulding their testimony so as to secure a conviction) – stories that were inconsistent and contradicted with the original truths in the tangible evidence that the accusers themselves had created through their emails, bikini pictures, letters and other evidence created in 2003.

    The police and prosecutor’s biggest mistake was charging Ghomeshi and bringing him to trial in the first place.

    Incredibly, Kingston is still trying to defend and rationalize the actions of DeCoutere, presumably to fit the narrative in Kingston’s earlier articles and Jesse Brown’s publicity (that were exposed as one-sided by the trial). Lucy is not a naïve simpleton victim (she was an actress in The Vagina Monologues; is an Air Force Captain; has a Master in Education degree; is a human resource development officer; was a fired school teacher; is advised by her own publicist and lawyer; is surely advised by the Sexual Assault Accusers Lobby). Regardless, the entire trial proved only one crime with tangible evidence – the crime of perjury committed by at least two of the accusers.

    Even feminist Rosie DiManno saw through the three accusers: “As witnesses, they were disastrous – deceitful. They failed to seduce the judge. They failed to seduce any clear-eyed spectator. But they certainly tried hard to play the poor victim card. As a fellow feminist and colleague observed: Mind-boggling how eagerly a younger generation of females will take back the mantle of spineless, hopeless, poor little fragile creatures they are, guilty of nothing more than too much niceness” (From “Ghomeshi’s sex appeal tough to understand”). When Ghomeshi’s book eventually comes out, it will likely give new facts and insights on what else the accusers did and why they did it.

    Margaret Wente reminds us: “the courts are not obliged to abandon common sense. If a woman says she was assaulted by a man she had just met, it is legitimate to ask why she kept pursuing him even though she claims she never wanted to see him again.” From “Save us from hashtag justice” – an insightful article worth reading)

    Kingston omits to consider that women – like anyone else — can lie and make false accusations of sexual assault. An enlightening article is “False Rape Allegations: An Assault On Justice” by Dr. Bruce Gross (now Director, USC Institute of Psychiatry and Law). For example, a British teenage boy committed suicide by hanging himself after being falsely accused of rape. See two Telegraph articles “ ‘Guilty until proven innocent’: life after a false rape accusation” and also “British rape laws need urgent reform to prevent injustice” .

    Watch You Tube for these clips by Feminism LOL:
    – “Ghomeshi Accusers Are Liars“
    – “The Truth About Jian Ghomeshi”
    – “Jian Ghomeshi: The collusion to destroy his life”
    – “Jesse Brown and Kathryn Borel lied about Ghomeshi and the CBC”

    • I have also found the coverage of this trial appalling and have cancelled my subscriptions to Macleans and Chatelaine (if you think Macleans’ coverage was biased, try reading Chatelaine’s articles and interview with Lucy!) Professional journalists should not be repeating popular but untrue phrases such as “it’s the witnesses that go on trial”. Criminal trials, which are of grave consequence to the accused no matter which way they are decided, should be reported by people with some legal education. Who needs “reflections”?

      • Chatelaine’s interview with Lucy DeCoutere was done by Sarah Boesveld. She has written several articles on Lucy over the years (e.g., Sarah Boesveld “Academy changes mind: Trailer Park ‘girl’ can’t teach there” in G&M from 2008). Lucy is obviously comfortable with Boesveld’s portrayals of her to be giving repeat interviews that seem more like publicity pieces. It’s reasonable to speculate whether there’s some sort of relationship there.

        • Interesting. I’ve appreciated your calling my attention to the YouTube clips by Feminism LOL.

  4. Can’t imagine the number of lies Ghomeshi has told all these years to hide his violent sexual preference.

  5. Sure. Marie Heinen “drove the narrative”. She didn’t write the script, she was literally narrating.

    This has become the trial for “ladies who lunch”. Kingston should venture into other courtrooms. I don’t know if the evidence necessarily shows that the legal system hasn’t drastically altered its understanding of sexual assault. But she might find something else to worry about.

    It bugs me that though, that in very little else do my opinions correspond with right wingers, I have to read writers I normally avoid, like Blatchord and Wente (actually I still refuse to read her) just to change up the content little. When even a lawyer like Mulcair can’t avoid selling out presumption of innocence, something very dumb is afoot.

    • Maybe they’re agreeing with you :-)
      Thinking people can disagree with economic policy and the appropriate level of social support to offer in our society. It stretches all logic and common sense to use the ghomeshi case to argue that there are problems with our judicial system. You will find you are in the vast majority, from all political stripes if you support the basis of our legal system.

  6. I have followed the coverage of the Ghomeshi case on this site since the beginning. I expected balanced coverage and after thke first day and the fiasco it was, I expected Ms. Kingston to have covered it in a more balanced way after that. It has been such a source of frustration to read her coverage. I also subscribe to Chatelaine and it’s worse there,

    I’m a woman and I consider myself a feminist, I came of age in the sixties so I’ve been around a while. I’ ve been in a number of relationships and had one marriage that failed. I’ve never been in a situation where I couldn’t walk away. Some women have more difficulty because of family or other issues. These women didn’t seem to have any real entanglement with Ghomeshi.

    I have met a number of abused women over the years, none of whom would put the Ghomeshi complainants in that same category. I look at their experiences as bad dates with someone you wouldn’t want to see again. I don’t logically understand how anyone can put these complainants in the samecategory as women who can’t leave a marriage or relationship because of children, lack of resources or true fear. These three, after what appears to be one date, kept going back for more and kept contacting him, even when it appears he gave them no encouragement.
    I have enjoyed most of the commentary here since the trial began. Most of the posts have been well reasoned, thoughtful and informative and I have enjoyed them and learned from them.
    It concerns me though when all “feminists” in general are disparaged. The placard-waving whackos outside the court were appalling in my view. They do not represent me or most other women I know. I was horrified to see such a display after the reading of such a clear judgement. I felt it was mocking the court.
    There are many versions of feminism and they(the protesters) are on a different planet from me and all the women I know.
    I agree with the concerns of another poster who wondered how the editor let this writer provide the only commentary for Macleans, since it has been so slanted and has demonstrated such a lack of knowledge about the legal system.
    Aster giving some thought to this matter, I wonder if the continued coverage is because these Kingston articles bring so many hits to this site. There seems to be more commentary on these articles than on any others.
    I have enjoyed many of the comments (especially the long ones