Crown witness allowed to testify at Jian Ghomeshi trial

Trail beings with legal arguments over a potential new witness

TORONTO    The judge at Jian Ghomeshi’s sexual assault trial agreed Tuesday to look at evidence from one final witness the Crown wanted to call in the closely watched case.

Crown lawyer Michael Callaghan told court the witness would corroborate allegations made at the trial by Lucy DeCoutere, one of the three women who have accused the former broadcaster of sexual assault.

DeCoutere, known for her role on “Trailer Park Boys,” testified last week that Ghomeshi choked her and repeatedly slapped her while they were kissing in his bedroom in the summer of 2003.

Callaghan said the new witness    whose identity is protected by a publication ban    would put to rest allegations that DeCoutere fabricated the story to win notoriety and fame.

Ghomeshi’s defence team, however, opposed calling the witness, saying DeCoutere’s cross-examination showed the “the breadth and scope” of her dishonesty.

After weighing both arguments, Justice William Horkins ruled that the safest course was for him to hear the witness’ evidence and then determine “any probative value it may have.”

The witness, however, could not travel to Toronto to testify in person due to stormy weather in her hometown, so both the Crown and the defence agreed to present the judge with a transcript of the woman’s statement to police as well as Facebook messages she exchanged with DeCoutere.

Ghomeshi has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking.

The 48-year-old former host of CBC Radio’s “Q” acknowledged in 2014 that he engaged in rough sex acts, but said it was consensual.

The trial resumes on Wednesday, with closing submissions expected on Thursday.