A big question for Ghomeshi's defence: Should he...
Bookmark and Share
Jan 30, 2016  |  Vote 0    0

A big question for Ghomeshi's defence: Should he testify?

In cases like this one, putting the defendant on the stand is a high-risk but potentially high-reward strategy


It may be the most important decision the defence makes: Should Jian Ghomeshi take the stand?

He is good witness material — articulate, smart and used to performing for an audience. It will be his shot to put forward his version of events, not just for the court but for the public.

But it is also a gamble that could backfire spectacularly, both for his case and for any hope of salvaging his public image.

In most sexual assault cases, in which the issue to be decided is whether there was consent, the accused will testify, says defence lawyer Daniel Brown, who is not involved in the case.

Without Ghomeshi’s testimony, it could be hard to argue there was consent or establish an “honest but mistaken belief” that the complainant consented.

“Given the number of complainants in this case and given what we expect to be the issues at play, I’d be shocked if Jian Ghomeshi didn’t take the stand in his defence to explain why he believed the complainants were consenting to the activity that forms the basis of these sexual assault allegations, or why he believes they are lying, if that is his ultimate position,” Brown said.

Then there is the added dimension of his being a public figure.

“People want to hear how he is going to explain these allegations. I think, beyond winning the case, he wants to clear his name,” Brown said. “Testifying will help him do that… if he is ultimately believed.”

The final call will be made only after the three women have testified and his lawyers have assessed how credible their evidence appeared.

Ghomeshi’s lawyer, Marie Henein, is known for conducting “skillful and surgical” cross-examinations that could make it less likely for Ghomeshi to need to testify, says defence lawyer Joseph Neuberger.

Neuberger said that, while a lawyer can give advice to a client on whether to testify, the final choice is Ghomeshi’s.

“A lot has been played out in the media, and he may very well feel that, aside from cross-examination, it is important for him to take the stand and testify so that he can set the record straight for himself and do some repair to his own character,” Neuberger said.

Toronto Star

Bookmark and Share

(0) Comment

Join The Conversation Sign Up Login

In Your Neighbourhood Today