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In their own words: The women who testified against Ghomeshi

A Toronto judge is expected to rule on the case Thursday


 
Jian Ghomeshi in Toronto, February 1, 2016 (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Jian Ghomeshi in Toronto, February 1, 2016 (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

TORONTO — Former CBC Radio star Jian Ghomeshi has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking. A Toronto judge is expected to rule on the case Thursday. Here’s what the three women behind the allegations testified at his trial:

FIRST COMPLAINANT:

The woman alleged Ghomeshi yanked on her hair when they were kissing in December 2002 and then suddenly pulled her hair again while they were kissing in his home a few days later before punching her in the head.

The woman, who was 41 at the time and cannot be named, said she met Ghomeshi at a party in Toronto where he invited her to a taping of his CBC Radio show “Play.”

The woman testified she went to the taping and then to a pub with Ghomeshi, after which they ended up kissing in his car, where she said the first alleged assault happened.

“He reaches around my head and he grabs my hair really, really hard and he pulls my head back,” she testified. “He said something like ‘do you like it like that.”’

The woman said she was left confused by the incident but still kissed Ghomeshi goodbye because “he had switched back to the nice guy.”

She saw Ghomeshi at another taping, which was uneventful, and then went for a third with a friend.

After going to a pub and dropping her friend off, the woman went with Ghomeshi to his home where they started kissing in his living room.

At one point, Ghomeshi abruptly pulled her hair “extremely hard.”

“He pulls my head down and at the same time he’s punching me in the head multiple times and I’m terrified,” she testified.“ I don’t know if he’s going to stop, can I take this pain.”

The woman said she ended up on her knees, with her ears ringing and started to cry when Ghomeshi told her she should leave.

The woman said she didn’t go to police until 2014 because she didn’t think anyone would listen.

Court also heard that the woman told police she didn’t have further dealings with Ghomeshi except for writing him one email in anger which she couldn’t recall if she sent.

Under cross-examination, however, court learned that the woman sent Ghomeshi friendly emails, including one with a bikini photo of herself.

The woman said she sent them as “bait,” hoping Ghomeshi would contact her so she could get an explanation for the alleged assaults. She said she didn’t remember the emails when she spoke with police.

SECOND COMPLAINANT:

Actress Lucy DeCoutere of “Trailer Park Boys” was the only complainant who could be identified after waiving her right to a publication ban.

DeCoutere, who is also a captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force, testified she was with Ghomeshi in his bedroom when he suddenly started choking her and slapping her face while they were kissing.

They first met at a conference in Alberta in the summer of 2003, and the pair emailed and phoned each other over the next month until DeCoutere, who lived in Halifax, made a trip to Toronto with plans to see Ghomeshi.

They went out for dinner and then back to Ghomeshi’s house where DeCoutere said he gave her a tour and suddenly started kissing her in his bedroom.

She said Ghomeshi then grabbed her by the throat, pushed her up against a wall and hit her face repeatedly with an open hand.

“I remember not being able to breathe,” she said. “I was just completely bewildered by what happened therefore I tried to brush it off. I didn’t leave.”

DeCoutere said she and Ghomeshi had subsequent interactions after that night, but she said she had no romantic interest in him.

During cross-examination, Ghomeshi’s defence lawyer noted that DeCoutere only disclosed details of her post-alleged-assault interactions with Ghomeshi after the trial began.

DeCoutere said she hadn’t understood the importance of “after-contact” incidents.

Ghomeshi’s lawyer produced a series of emails and a letter from DeCoutere to Ghomeshi, which the actress said she had not remembered until they were presented in court.

In one email, sent the day after the alleged assault, DeCoutere wrote “you kicked my ass last night” and expressed a desire to have sex with Ghomeshi. After showing the email to DeCoutere, Ghomeshi’s lawyer suggested that what happened in Ghomeshi’s home was no sexual assault.

Henein then produced a hand-written letter DeCoutere sent to Ghomeshi after her trip to Toronto, in which DeCoutere said she was “sad” they hadn’t spent the night together. In the last line of the letter DeCoutere wrote: “I love your hands.”

THIRD COMPLAINANT:

The woman told Ghomeshi’s trial that while they were kissing in a park in 2003, he suddenly bit her shoulder and started squeezing her neck with his hands.

They met at a Toronto dance festival, where Ghomeshi came up behind the woman, who was 32 at the time, and rested his arms on her shoulders. When someone asked how they knew each other, the woman said Ghomeshi replied “we’re engaged.”

Shortly after that encounter, the woman said she met Ghomeshi in a park one night where they began kissing on a bench.

“All of a sudden, I felt his hand on my shoulders and his teeth. And then his hands were around my neck and he was squeezing,” the woman testified. “I tried to get out of it and then his hand was on my mouth, sort of smothering me.”

The woman said she had consented to the kissing but not to what followed, and left the park shortly after.

A few days later, the woman said she went out for dinner and drinks with Ghomeshi, and then they went back to her home where a sexual encounter took place.

The woman said she only told police about the encounter once Ghomeshi’s trial was already underway because the incident had been consensual and she was embarrassed about it.

When questioned by Ghomeshi’s lawyer, however, the woman accepted that she deliberately misled investigators by withholding information.

The woman’s dates with Ghomeshi ended after they went to a party where he repeatedly berated her best friend.

The trial heard that years later, the woman and DeCoutere became friends after allegations began surfacing about Ghomeshi in late 2014.

The woman initially said they didn’t discuss their allegations against Ghomeshi but admitted under cross-examination that they actually did, while also talking about their shared contempt of him before and after they went to police.


 

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