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aquitana

Jian Ghomeshi found not guilty

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aquitana

I used to love to listen to Radio Q, and Jian Ghomeshi's interviews with rock stars, authors, etc. It was on public Canadian radio out of Toronto. Then he was accused of being violent towards several different girlfriends, fired from his show, and put on trial. He claimed he was into "rough sex," but what was described did not come across as consensual to me. Three women testified against him. He hired a female lawyer known for ruthlessness, who basically put the women testifying against him on trial.

So now he was found not guilty. What does everyone think? I have mixed feelings, but I usually believe that women don't put themselves through the trauma of a trial unless something pretty bad happened.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/03/24/jian_ghomeshi_found_not_guilty_of_sexual_assault_in_shocking_proclamation.html

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treehugger

This ruling has been bothering me since I heard it yesterday. I feel like I need to process it all a little more first, before I can make any intelligent commentary.... But right now, I am mostly feeling frustration and anger.  Not even so much with Ghomeshi, but with a legal system that makes it so damn near impossible for women who are victims of sexual assault to ever be taken seriously.  

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Khan

The judge's comment about the victims not acting the way victims should after an assault really got my dander up. 

It reminded me of this:

https://thenib.com/trigger-warning-breakfast-c6cdeec070e6#.s0uxmbvbs

How, exactly,  is one supposed to act after being assaulted?  Is there a manual we were supposed to read before we were attacked? How to be a Convincing Victim, perhaps?    

If you hide and cry folks might think you are a danger to yourself and have you committed. If you strike at your attacker you face legal repercussions. If you stuff it into a tiny corner of your mind and try to carry on people assume you're a liar.

Not all rapes leave a woman hospitalized with obvious injuries, dammit.

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PreciousPantsofDoom
2 hours ago, Khan said:

"The judge's comment about the victims not acting the way victims should after an assault really got my dander up"

Me too.  I do get that a case needs to be proven beyond reasonable doubt, but this comment shows such a lack of understanding about the unpredictable ways that people react to assault.  

One of the witnesses sent flowers and letters etc.  To Ghomeshi after the assault and many people felt that it completely destroyed her credibility (certainly the judge did.)  I do not like that some people are judging her for how she reacted after the assault, and for not disclosing some of this until the trial.

I personally CAN  see reacting that way in that situation.  I expect people to be good and treat me well and when they don't it totally throws me off. And Ghomeshi behavior was extreme enough to completely shock and stun me. If I was her, my brain might just go into weird denial mode and cause me to do erratic things like try to send flowers and be nice to the guy who just choked me at the end of our date.  (I say "might" because I'm not her and maybe I would get angry instead, but who knows?  )  And maybe then my memory of the whole thing might be a little patchy because that's what happens when you are traumatized,(duh) so you don't mention it to the lawyer.  And maybe you are naive and don't realize what an impact it will have on the case. Yes, assault is assault, and what you did after shouldn't matter, but the verdict showed that it DID matter in this case.  

The unfortunate thing is that despite a clear verdict, there will always be a question mark over the heads of everyone involved.  Ghomeshi got aquitted in court, but the way it went down made it look like he got off on a technicality thanks to a fancy lawyer. Who knows if the witnesses were telling the truth or not.  The only thing that is certain is that they were not able to prove their allegations and they were made to look stupid in the process.   And that is no good for other victims in other cases. 

 

 

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2xx1xy1JD

Here's a link to the actual court decisions:

http://www.canlii.org/en/on/oncj/doc/2016/2016oncj155/2016oncj155.html?autocompleteStr=ghomeshi&autocompletePos=4

Here's the relevant part from the judge's conclusions:
  

Quote

 

As I have stated more than once, the courts must be very cautious in assessing the evidence of complainants in sexual assault and abuse cases. Courts must guard against applying false stereotypes concerning the expected conduct of complainants. I have a firm understanding that the reasonableness of reactive human behaviour in the dynamics of a relationship can be variable and unpredictable. However, the twists and turns of the complainants’ evidence in this trial, illustrate the need to be vigilant in avoiding the equally dangerous false assumption that sexual assault complainants are always truthful. Each individual and each unique factual scenario must be assessed according to their own particular circumstances.

[136]         Each complainant in this case engaged in conduct regarding Mr. Ghomeshi, after the fact, which seems out of harmony with the assaultive behaviour ascribed to him. In many instances, their conduct and comments were even inconsistent with the level of animus exhibited by each of them, both at the time and then years later. In a case that is entirely dependent on the reliability of their evidence standing alone, these are factors that cause me considerable difficulty when asked to accept their evidence at full value.

[137]         Each complainant was confronted with a volume of evidence that was contrary to their prior sworn statements and their evidence in-chief. Each complainant demonstrated, to some degree, a willingness to ignore their oath to tell the truth on more than one occasion. It is this aspect of their evidence that is most troubling to the Court.

[138]         The success of this prosecution depended entirely on the Court being able to accept each complainant as a sincere, honest and accurate witness. Each complainant was revealed at trial to be lacking in these important attributes. The evidence of each complainant suffered not just from inconsistencies and questionable behaviour, but was tainted by outright deception.

[139]         The harsh reality is that once a witness has been shown to be deceptive and manipulative in giving their evidence, that witness can no longer expect the Court to consider them to be a trusted source of the truth. 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.

[140]         My conclusion that the evidence in this case raises a reasonable doubt is not the same as deciding in any positive way that these events never happened. At the end of this trial, a reasonable doubt exists because it is impossible to determine, with any acceptable degree of certainty or comfort, what is true and what is false. The standard of proof in a criminal case requires sufficient clarity in the evidence to allow a confident acceptance of the essential facts. In these proceedings the bedrock foundation of the Crown’s case is tainted and incapable of supporting any clear determination of the truth.

 

In other words, it wasn't just that they continued to have contact with him after the alleged assaults.  It was the fact that they were caught lying under oath about it.  The decision itself didn't shock anyone here who had been following the trial.  If the only evidence is the testimony of the victim, and that victim is clearly shown to be lying in her testimony, how can you possibly prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?

The prosecution not being able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt is not a "technicality".  It goes to the heart of the case.

The witnesses clearly lied about the post-assault events.  They gave very clear evidence on some points, which was shown to be totally false.  That doesn't mean that everything they said about being assaulted was false, but it does mean that you can't relying on someone who doesn't always tell the truth under oath as the only evidence to convict someone.

 

 

Edited by 2xx1xy1JD

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treehugger

I'm glad you weighed in @2xx1xy1JD.  Court documents make my head spin, and the media does tend to sensationalize everything.  

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2xx1xy1JD
On 2016-03-25 at 3:42 PM, aquitana said:

I used to love to listen to Radio Q, and Jian Ghomeshi's interviews with rock stars, authors, etc. It was on public Canadian radio out of Toronto. Then he was accused of being violent towards several different girlfriends, fired from his show, and put on trial. He claimed he was into "rough sex," but what was described did not come across as consensual to me. Three women testified against him. He hired a female lawyer known for ruthlessness, who basically put the women testifying against him on trial.

So now he was found not guilty. What does everyone think? I have mixed feelings, but I usually believe that women don't put themselves through the trauma of a trial unless something pretty bad happened.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2016/03/24/jian_ghomeshi_found_not_guilty_of_sexual_assault_in_shocking_proclamation.html

The Slate article is shitty reporting, and it is upsetting.  I don't want victims to think that they will never be believed.

It wasn't a matter of not recalling exact details years later.  It was a matter of giving very clear, detailed testimony on some points, which were proven to be false.  If you specifically testify that you actively avoided any contact at all with your attacker, and then you are forced to admit that you emailed sexy bikini pictures, or explicit come-ons, or wrote love letters, your credibility disappears BECAUSE YOU ACTIVELY LIED UNDER OATH.  If a witness had simply said from the outset, "I was attracted to him, but I never consented to X and was very upset and confused and didn't know how to process it.  He was nice after, which confused me even more.  It took me a while to fully end the relationship, because I was in denial and hoped that it would get better", the result may have been very different.

The comment about worrying that victims may have conspired wasn't totally about victim-blaming.  There were thousands of emails between 2 of the victims, and because of that, the prosecutors had to treat each complaint separately and couldn't use one complaint to support the credibility of another complaint.  Otherwise, it could have been a "similar fact" case.

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aquitana

I realize I didn't use the best article. I just grabbed one of the first ones. It sounds as if the women didn't have very sound legal advice.

It's very upsetting to me that the women are being called whores and witches online all over the place, because I do believe they suffered domestic violence. And most women I know who have been raped never press charges. This case doesn't help in a culture where women aren't believed or are torn to shreds in a courtroom when they do speak up.

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