The former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi was a big name in Canadian indie rock circles until 2014, when he faced allegations and charges that he’d beaten and choked women, without their consent. Ghomeshi claimed that he did nothing wrong and said that all this was happening during consensual BDSM encounters; he also sued CBC for firing him, though he later withdrew the lawsuit. And today, as CBC reports, an Ontario Court judge acquitted Ghomeshi on four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking.
Judge William Horkins says that he didn’t trust the testimony of Ghomeshi’s alleged victims: “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.” The women had testified that they no longer had any contact with Ghomeshi after the alleged assaults, but his lawyers found evidence that they had texted or emailed him afterwards.
Outside the courthouse, a topless protester rushed Ghomeshi and the podium on the court steps. She was handcuffed and put in a police car.