Jian Ghomeshi trial to hear closing arguments...
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Feb 10, 2016  |  Vote 0    0

Jian Ghomeshi trial to hear closing arguments Thursday

Former CBC Radio host has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking


A few days after Lucy DeCoutere alleges she was choked and slapped by Jian Ghomeshi at his home following a dinner date in 2003, she told her close friend about it, according to a police statement by the friend.

A transcript of the police interview with Sarah Dunsworth, DeCoutere’s friend and co-star on Trailer Park Boys, was filed in court Wednesday morning despite the defence arguing it was irrelevant. The Crown said, and the judge agreed, that the evidence could be used to rebut the defence assertion that DeCoutere recently fabricated the allegations against Ghomeshi in order to increase her fame.

DeCoutere began the call by laughing and saying: “Is this normal,” Dunsworth told police in 2014 according to the transcript.

Then DeCoutere said Ghomeshi had put his hands on her neck and choked her. He hadn’t discussed it with her before doing so — “it came out of nowhere” — and it was not part of any “sex play,” Dunsworth said DeCoutere told her.

“No, that’s, it’s really not normal,” Dunsworth said she told her friend. “I mean, I don’t think she was really asking if it was normal, but she was, you know, reaching out to a girlfriend.”

Dunsworth said they discussed the alleged sexual assault periodically over the years, including before she and DeCoutere were interviewed by Ghomeshi on Q in 2008 - an interview she described as “very awkward” because Ghomeshi was very rude and “obviously wasn’t interested in interviewing us even slightly.”

DeCoutere also gave her a heads up before she spoke to the media and the police about the allegations, Dunsworth said.

In their argument against Dunsworth’s statement being admitted at trial, the defence produced Facebook messages between the two women from Nov. 11, 2014, several days before Dunsworth made her police statement.

In the messages DeCoutere says the Toronto police want Dunsworth’s phone number because she told them she’d told Dunsworth what happened long before she reported the incident to police. “It makes me look like I am not a copycat,” she wrote.

The defence argued this means Dunsworth did not have an independent recollection of their conversation and that it does not matter when DeCoutere began making up the allegations, it just matters that she did.

DeCoutere, Dunsworth on Q as Trailer Park Boys characters

The defence also said Dunsworth said she thought the conversation took place in 2004, not 2003 when the incident is alleged to have occurred, and that she does not say DeCoutere mentioned being slapped three times.

The judge said he would admit the evidence, then determine its relevance.

The conversation could be used in a credibility assessment of DeCoutere, but the judge said it cannot be used to corroborate her allegations since it was a statement she made herself.

Final submissions in the case will begin Thursday, with the Crown going first, followed by the defence.

Ghomeshi has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking. The 48-year-old former host of CBC Radio’s “Q” acknowledged in 2014 that he engaged in rough sex acts, but said it was consensual.

Toronto Star

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