Former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi is facing three new charges of sexual assault from three female complainants who had not come forward previously.

One of the new complainants is a former CBC employee.

The news of the latest charges came as Ghomeshi, 47, was in court for what was expected to be the setting of a date for a preliminary inquiry on previous sexual assault and choking charges.

In addition to the latest charges, Ghomeshi faces four sexual-assault counts and one charge of overcoming resistance by choking.

“I know how scary and painful it can be to speak up and come forward," said Lucy DeCoutere, who is one of the original complainants against Ghomeshi. She called Thursday's news "encouraging" in a wider context.

"Every woman who comes forward paves the way for the next, and there is great comfort in that, not just in this case but in all cases of violence against women," she said in a statement.

The former host ofappeared in the court accompanied by his mother and wearing a suit and tie. He appeared sombre and kept his head down as the new charges were read in court.


Jian Ghomeshi is led through a crowd of reporters and photographers outside a Toronto courtroom Thursday morning. His next scheduled court appearance is Feb. 4. (CBC)

Ghomeshi did not answer questions as he left court through a crowd of reporters and photographers. His lawyer made a brief statement, saying Ghomeshi would plead not guilty to all the charges. Ghomeshi is not in custody and his bail was renewed Thursday at $100,000. Existing bail conditions requiring him to surrender his passport, remain in Ontario and live in his mother's house remain unchanged.

His next scheduled court appearance is Feb. 4, when his lawyer is expected to appear on Ghomeshi's behalf.

It's expected that's when the preliminary inquiry will begin and a trial date will be set, CBC's Ioanna Roumeliotis reported.

The former host of the arts and culture show Q was fired in October after CBC executives saw what they described as graphic evidence that he had physically injured a woman.

Ghomeshi has denied taking part in any violent, non-consensual sexual acts.

In November, Ghomeshi's lawyer, Marie Henein, said he would plead not guilty and address the allegations against him "fully and directly in a courtroom."

On Thursday, his lawyer said Ghomeshi will also plead not guilty to the three new charges.

CBC has hired employment lawyer Janice Rubin to conduct an investigation into the corporation’s handling of the allegations against Ghomeshi.

CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson had no comment when asked Thursday about the new charges.

"We don't comment on matters before the courts," he said.