What’s Current: Ghomeshi defence concludes without presenting a shred of evidence

Ghomeshi and counsel, November 2014 -- Photo: Craig Robertson, QMI Agency
Ghomeshi and counsel, November 2014 — Photo: Craig Robertson, QMI Agency

The Crown and Jian Ghomeshi’s defence presented their closing arguments today. Ghomeshi did not testify, nor did his defence present any evidence. The defence strategy, instead, focused solely on discrediting his accusers. The judge will deliver his verdict on March 24, 2016.

Ontario MP, Charlie Angus, takes to Facebook to share what he’s learned from the Ghomeshi trial about how the legal system fails women: “Nobody close to Jian even pretends he is innocent, and somehow this isn’t an issue — the women are.”

Lawyer writes on the “absurdity” of how the Ghomeshi trial did not call expert witnesses to the stand to explain the gendered context of the crime of sexual assault. She writes:

“In Ghomeshi’s trial, for instance, expert testimony could have referenced the reams of legal and academic research, court decisions and publications that explain why women who’ve experienced sexual violence from someone they know or have just met would internalize the crime, stay in or pursue the relationship, or erase it from their memory.

The baffling reality is that law students are not informed of how to understand and use that information as evidence, and that police sexual-assault-investigation training locates police officers as the experts…

There now seems little doubt that the defence will win its case, but it’s critical to note that Henein did not question any of the three women in any detail about the veracity of the sexual assaults they claim. Not once.”

Legal experts, such as law professor Elizabeth Sheehy, say the Jian Ghomeshi trial has “changed forever” the conversation about sexual assault in Canada. Sheehy states:

“Many [women] are disclosing their own experience of sexual assault for the first time. Women are supporting each other and refusing to accept that discrepancies in the complainants’ abilities to recall details or their [behaviour after the alleged assault] and communications with the accused or others have any bearing whatsoever on the truth of their core allegations.”

Ghomeshi trial continues to raise national concern over the ongoing usage of “whacking the complainant” in rape trials, which is technically not legally permissible. Two Canadian law professors write:

“Whacking occurs when defence lawyers use the availability of a preliminary inquiry for the purpose of persuading a complainant to give up, as one defence lawyer so brazenly advertised on his website by describing a case involving the gang rape of a 14-year-old girl who quit after becoming ‘so frustrated’ by his questions.”

In U.S. news, male university student, Clifford Durand, pledges to “smash” a “bitch” over a Donald Trump sticker on her laptop. Durand posted a photo of his female classmate on Twitter without her knowledge or consent, threatening to “smash this bitch’s computer” if it was retweeted over 7k times. Durand then “[shoves] her in the neck.”

Black female Princeton professor arrested, handcuffed to table over a PARKING VIOLATION. A male officer also performed a “body search” on her, despite there being a female officer available to do it.

Susan Cox

Susan Cox is a feminist writer and academic living in the United States. She teaches in Philosophy.