The only complainant whose name is not covered by a publication ban took the stand Thursday in the sexual assault trial of Jian Ghomeshi.
Trailer Park Boys actor Lucy DeCoutere described her initial conversation with the former CBC Radio host at the Banff television festival in 2003 as friendly, playful, flirtatious and cheeky.
She said she left thinking he might be a fun person to spend time with, and they exchanged “sort of hilarious emails that were cheeky and fun” over the next while.
Those emails included “irreverent, joking allusions to sexual acts that were outrageous,” including the description of an act known as a “rusty trombone.”
After meeting for dinner in Toronto at a later date, DeCoutere agreed to go back to his home, adding that it was “not like he was going to kill me when we went back to his house.”
She said she had no interest in having sex with Ghomeshi, but knew there was a chance they might be intimate. On the walk to his home, DeCoutere said he repeatedly tried to kiss her.
Once back at his home, she alleges that they began kissing suddenly and Ghomeshi hit her three times and began choking her.
DeCoutere said she consented to the kissing but was not able to consent to the choking or slapping, which began almost immediately after the kissing.
“I was just receiving it,” she added.
Prior to her testimony, the judge ruled against granting the media access to a photo of the first complainant, which was entered as evidence in the case against the Ghomeshi.
A group of media outlets had asked for access to the photo, which the unnamed complainant sent to Ghomeshi by email. The court heard the photo showed her in a bikini.
Lawyer Iris Fischer argued that the public should see what information the judge uses to decide the case.
The complainant’s lawyer, Jacob Jesin, countered that withholding the photo was necessary to prevent the identification of his client. He said that “has not and will not impair in any way [media] from adequately reporting what goes in this courtroom.”
Justice William Horkins noted that withholding the image was clearly a “departure” from the default position of transparency with exhibits.
However, he also added he had “grave concerns” about the potential effect of releasing it.
In this case, he said, the image “has been thoroughly and sufficiently described on the record ...you don’t need to see it to get the picture,” and therefore ordered the picture remain sealed.
Ghomeshi has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking to overcome resistance.
Over the first two days of the trial, Horkins heard the witness, whose identity is under a publication ban, describe two alleged sexual assaults from late 2002/early 2003: one where she said Ghomeshi pulled her hair forcefully while kissing her in his car, the other in his home where she said he pulled her hair and punched the side of her head multiple times.
But over about four hours of cross-examination Ghomeshi’s lawyer challenged the complainant on inconsistencies in her account and ended by suggesting she outright lied, dramatically revealing “flirtatious” emails contradicting the complainant’s repeated claims that she had no contact with Ghomeshi after the alleged sexual assaults.
The complainant said she’d sent the emails – one including the photo of her in a bikini that remains under publication ban - as “bait” for Ghomeshi to call her so she could ask him why he violently punched her in the head.