Friday, 20 May 2016

The downfall of a famous radio show host: Ghomeshi (part 3)

If you read my first article with respect to the famous Ghomeshi trial that I put in my blog on May 16th 2016, you will know that Jian Ghomeshi was a very popular host of a CBC radio show called Q. When the big wigs in CBC saw a picture of a woman who had been severely beaten by Ghomeshi, they fired him. It wasn’t long before other women began complaining about Ghomeshi physically assaulting them also. Then in 2016, he was facing these women in a criminal court. In the article I published on May 16th, it is about what the trial judge had to say in his decision about one of the complainants with respect to her testimony. In the article I published on May 18th, it is about what the trial judge had to say in his decision about the second of the complainants with respect to her testimony. If you haven’t read either of those articles that I wrote about Ghomeshi and his complainants testifying against him, I urge you to do so before you begin reading this article.

When I am quoting the trial judge, I will encompass his statements with quotation marks followed by the word Unquote.  The other statements will be my own commentary. And now my dear readers; sit back and enjoy this article as I tell you about the third complainant and what the judge had to say about her testimony.

The complaint of S.D.
 The judge in this case ordered that this witness’s name was not to be disclosed so I will refer to her by her initials only.  

 The charge relating to S.D. alleges a sexual assault said to have occurred sometime on July 15th, 2003.

S.D.’s initial allegation was that on July 15th, after it was after dark, S.D. and Ghomeshi strolled to the baseball diamond for privacy. They sat on a bench and kissed. Suddenly and without warning, Ghomeshi squeezed S.D.’s neck forcefully enough to cause her discomfort and it interfered with her ability to breathe. She also felt his teeth on and around her neck. She said that it was rough and it was unwelcome. She said that it was “not right. It lasted a few seconds. She said nothing to anyone about it at that time.                       

S.D. and Ghomeshi socialized two or three more times in the days and weeks following this incident in the park and then they had no further relationship. This was the extent of what S.D. initially related to the police.        

S.D. was not particularly precise or consistent in the details of the alleged assault. She explained that some of the imprecision in her initial account to the police was due to her still "trying to figure it out".  Some lack of precision is to be expected in any report of conduct from over a decade earlier. However, it is reasonable to expect that a true account of significant events will not vary too dramatically from time to time in the telling. The standard of proof in a criminal case requires sufficient clarity in the evidence to allow a confident acceptance of the essential facts. The judge said in his decision;

“This portion of S.D.’s evidence at trial illustrates my concern on this last point.”

He was referring to her testimony with respect to what occurred while she and Ghomeshi were sitting in the bench. What follows are the questions put to her during Ghomeshi’s trial and her answers.

Q: What was his hands doing?

A: He had his hand - it was sort of - it was sort of his hands were on my shoulders, kind of on my arms here, and then it was - and then I felt his teeth and then his hands around my neck. … It was rough but - yeah, it was rough.

Q:  Were his hands open, were they closed?

A:  “It's really hard for me to say, but it was just - I just felt his hands around my neck, all around my neck.  And I think I tried to get out of it and then his hand was on my mouth, sort of smothering me.” 

You may recall that her initial allegation was that Ghomeshi squeezed S.D.’s neck forcefully enough to cause her discomfort and it interfered with her ability to breathe.

S.D. said that her decision to come forward was inspired by others coming forward in 2014. She consumed the media reports and spoke to others for about six weeks after the Ghomeshi Scandal broke in the media. Although she initially testified that she and Ms. DeCoutere never discussed the details of her experience prior to her police interview, in cross-examination she admitted that in fact she had.

The judge had some concerns about S.D communicating with another victim before testifying during the trial when he said in his decision;

 “I am alert to the danger that some of this outside influence and information may have been imported into her own admittedly imprecise recollection of her experience with Mr. Ghomeshi.” Unquote

The extreme dedication to bringing down Ghomeshi is evidenced vividly in the email correspondence between S.D. and Lucy DeCoutere. Between October 29, 2014 and September 2015, S.D. and Lucy DeCoutere exchanged approximately 5,000 messages. While this anger and this animus may simply reflect the legitimate feelings of victims of abuse, it also raises the need for the Judge to proceed with caution. Lucy DeCoutere and S.D. considered themselves to be a “team” and the goal was to bring down Ghomeshi. 

The team bond between Lucy DeCoutere and S.D. was strong. They discussed witnesses, court dates and meetings with the prosecution. They described their partnership as being “insta sisters”. They shared a publicist. They initially shared the same lawyer. They spoke of together building a “Jenga Tower” (game of physical and mental skill) against Ghomeshi. They expressed their top priority in the crude vernacular that they sometimes employed, to “sink the prick because he’s a fucking piece of shit.”

If these two women had decided to do this on their own, that wouldn’t necessarily be wrong but as a joint effort; it raises the specter of collusion. The judge in his decisions said the following;

“S.D. met with Crown counsel five times in the year prior to the trial of this matter. On each occasion she was reminded of the need to be completely honest and accurate. At no time until almost literally the eve of being called to the witness stand did she reveal the whole truth of her relationship with Mr. Ghomeshi.  The most dramatic aspect of S.D.’s evidence was her last minute disclosure to the prosecution of sexual activity with Mr. Ghomeshi on a date following the date of the alleged assault in the park.” Unquote
 It is now apparent that in her initial interviews, S.D was putting forward her non-association with Mr. Ghomeshi after the assault, as evidence that she had reason to fear him. She said that she “always kept her distance” from Mr. Ghomeshi. She felt unsafe around Mr. Ghomeshi. In her statement to the police she acknowledged that she went out a couple of times with Mr. Ghomeshi after the alleged assault but underscored that it was always in public. She told the police that “the extent of it is, we’re going to be in public.” They (C.D and Ghomeshi) went to a bar and they had a dinner date.

“At trial, a very different truth was revealed. After meeting with Mr. Ghomeshi at a bar, in public, she took him back to her home and, to use her words, they “messed around”. She gave him a “hand job”. He slept there for a while then went home. This of course was dramatically contrary to her earlier statement that she “tried to stay in public with him” and keep her distance. S.D. acknowledged that her earlier comments were a deliberate lie and an intentional misrepresentation of her brief relationship with Mr. Ghomeshi.  S.D.’s decision to suppress this information until the last minute, prior to trial, greatly undermines the Court’s confidence in her evidence. In assessing the credibility of a witness, the active suppression of the truth will be as damaging to their reliability as a direct lie under oath.” Unquote

 S.D. claimed that she did not think it was important to disclose this intimate contact and said she wasn’t “specifically” asked about post-assault sexual activity with Mr. Ghomeshi.  She ultimately acknowledged that she left out things because she felt it didn’t fit “the pattern”. And when pressed further in cross-examination, she said that she did not think that what had happened between them at her home qualified as “sex”.

Either this woman was lying or she was extremely naïve.  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines sex as follows;

The physical activity in which people touch each other's bodies, kiss each other, physical activity that is related to and often includes sexual intercourse. The judge also said in his decision;

“On February 25, 2004, more than six months after the alleged assault in the park, S.D. sent Mr. Ghomeshi an email which included her asking him, “Still want to have that drink sometime?” These are not the words of someone endeavouring to keep her distance.” Unquote

When S.D. decided to make this disclosure, the other two complainants had already given evidence and had been seriously embarrassed when confronted with their own dramatic non-disclosures. S.D. had reviewed her sworn police complaint the week prior to trial and at that time she offered no additions, qualifications or corrections. She says that she inadvertently heard something on the radio about emails being presented to the other complainants. She realized at that point that everything was going to come out and that it was time to disclose the true extent of their relationship.

“S.D. was clearly “playing chicken” with the justice system. She was prepared to tell half the truth for as long as she thought she might get away with it. Clearly, S.D. was following the proceedings more closely than she cared to admit and she knew that she was about to run head first into the whole truth. S.D offered an excuse for hiding this information. She said that this was her “first kick at the can”, and that she did not know how “to navigate” this sort of proceeding. “Navigating” this sort of proceeding is really quite simple: tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” Unquote

C.D is in my opinion, a bimbo (unintelligent woman) like the other two women who testified against Ghomeshi. What they lacked in intelligence, they made up for it in stupidity.

There are many women who thrive on being a victim. It make them feel like that they are martyrs so that people will feel sorry for them. These three women didn’t come under that classification. Other women actually fall in love with their abusers. Emotionally bonding with an abuser is referred to as the Stockholm Syndrome. These women didn’t fall into that classification either.

I honestly believe that what motivated them to continue seeing a man who physically abused them; was their hope that their relationships with their abuser would lead them into upgrading their careers through his assistance.  They were prepared to risk their physical and emotional wellbeing in order to achieve their goals.  It is a sad story when you think of it. Ghomeshi didn’t do anything towards upgrading their careers. Instead these three women appeared in the public’s collective minds as bimbos.

Part 4 is the final installment of this series on Ghomeshi and his three bimbos. In it, I will give you the judge’s decision and how he arrived at it and the aftermath of this sorry tale. It will be published on May 23rd.

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