Jian Ghomeshi trial: Accused won't testify, as closing arguments set for today
Former CBC host's defence team chose not to present any evidence or call any witnesses
The Crown in the sexual assault trial of Jian Ghomeshi will begin its final submissions today, as the defence team for the former CBC host chose not to present any evidence or call any witnesses, including their client, to testify in the case.
Instead, during the course of the trial, Ghomeshi's legal team, headed by Marie Henein, spent the days in court aggressively challenging the credibility of the Crown's witnesses — the three female complainants.
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The Crown rested its case on Wednesday after submitting a transcript of a statement from Sarah Dunsworth, an actress and friend of Lucy DeCoutere, one of the three complainants.
DeCoutere had testified that the former Q host had choked and slapped her at his home.
According to the transcript, Dunsworth said DeCoutere called her about a week after the alleged assault. She said DeCoutere told her that she and Ghomeshi had gone out on a date and that he had "ended up putting his hands on her neck and choking her." Dunsworth did not mention anything about the alleged slapping.
Dunsworth said DeCoutere asked her if she thought that was normal, to which Dunsworth replied, "It's really not normal." She said DeCoutere told her she and Ghomeshi had not previously discussed that kind of "sex play."
Dunsworth said DeCoutere said "she was really not interested in it," that it was "really weird" and that it "freaked her out."
Dunsworth could not appear in court because she lives in Nova Scotia and a storm prevented her from travelling to Toronto. But the Crown and defence agreed to allow a transcript of her statement into evidence.
Also included were Facebook messages exchanged between the two. In one message, DeCoutere tells Dunsworth that the Toronto police want her number. Dunsworth asks "just to [corroborate]?"
"I told them that I told you what happened ages ago. It makes me look like I am not a copy cat," DeCoutere said.
Pleaded not guilty
Ghomeshi, 48, who lives in Toronto, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking, all related to alleged assaults from 2002 to 2003. The identities of two of the complainants are protected under a publication ban, but DeCoutere, an actress and an air force captain, went to court to lift the ban on her name.
The first woman to testify told court that Ghomeshi had pulled her hair and punched her in the head at his home after a dinner date. DeCoutere said the former Q host had choked and slapped her at his home. The third woman said Ghomeshi had squeezed her neck and covered her mouth while they were kissing on a park bench.
But it was later revealed in court that each woman had had contact with Ghomeshi following the alleged assaults and that details of this contact had not been provided to police or the Crown in their initial statements.