As It Happens

[UPDATED] First woman to testify against Jian Ghomeshi on not guilty ruling

On Thursday, an Ontario judge acquitted former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi on four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking. As it Happens speaks with the first woman to appear at the trial. We also reached a Toronto defence lawyer about the ruling.
Linda Redgrave was one of three complainants in a sexual assault trial involving former CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi, who was acquitted of all the charges. Redgrave waived a publication ban three weeks after the acquittal, saying she wants to help sexual assault survivors.


UPDATED: April 18, 2016

On April 14, Ontario Court Judge William Horkins granted the complainant's request to waive a court-ordered publication ban. We can now name her as Linda Redgrave. Her real name has been added to the story below. Take a listen to our full interview. You can also read more about her decision to release her name here.

On March 24, 2016 an Ontario judge acquitted former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi on all charges — four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking. 

In his ruling, Judge William Horkins said, "I am forced to conclude that it is impossible for the court to have sufficient faith in the reliability or sincerity of these complainants. Put simply, the volume of serious deficiencies in the evidence leaves the court with a reasonable doubt."

Judge Horkins ruled that the complainants lied, were manipulative and deceived the court under oath.

As it Happens requested interviews with Ghomeshi and his lawyer, however they didn't respond to our requests.

Jian Ghomeshi leaves courthouse

7 years ago
Duration 0:32
He and defence team say nothing as they get into vehicle

Following the decision, As it Happens host Carol Off spoke with the first complainant in the case, Linda Redgrave.

"I wasn't surprised at all. I was actually expecting it," she says. "Right from the beginning, I've always said that I wasn't invested in the outcome of the trial. I didn't come into it to have a man convicted and sent to jail. I was here to tell a story that I thought needed attention."

Jian Ghomeshi leaves court in Toronto on Thursday, March 24, 2016. Ghomeshi was acquitted on all charges of sexual assault and choking following a trial that sparked a nationwide debate on how the justice system treats victims. Ontario court Judge William Horkins said he simply could not rely on the three complainants given their changing and shifting memories and evidence that at times strayed into outright lies. (Christopher Katsarov/Canadian Press)

As it Happens also spoke with Toronto-based criminal defence lawyer Joseph Neuberger.

"I think [the judge] did a very detailed, thorough analysis of all the evidence. It's a very well-written and analyzed decision," he says. 

"There is a lot of foundation and evidence for the judge to make findings of deception and lack of credibility and reliability in this case. There is a lot of material that, for one reason or another, was not provided to the police when they were conducting their interviews and not disclosed to the crown. [It's] extremely damaging to the reliability and credibility of these witnesses."

Toronto defence lawyer reacts to ruling in Ghomeshi trial

Late Thursday, Ghomeshi's legal team released the following statement:

"After a trial in the Ontario Court of Justice, in full public view, Mr. Ghomeshi has been rightly acquitted of these charges. Notwithstanding the unprecedented scrutiny and pressure, the case was determined on the evidence heard in a court of law. In our system  of justice, that is what must happen in every case regardless of who is accused or what crime is  alleged. That is precisely what occurred in this case. This has been a very long, exhausting and devastating 16 months for Mr.  Ghomeshi. He will take time with his family and close friends to reflect and move forward from what can only  be described as a profoundly difficult period in his life."