The Executive Director of the Sexual Assault Centre for Quinte and District says she is disappointed and shocked but not surprised by Thursday’s not guilty verdict in the Jian Ghomeshi case.
Ghomeshi was acquitted of four counts of sexual assault and one of choking.
Judge William Horkins told a Toronto courtroom he simply could not rely on the three complainants — given their changing and shifting memories and evidence that he says at times strayed into outright lies.
Kim Charlebois says she’s shocked about Horkins saying complainants interacting with Ghomeshi after the fact seemed out of harmony.
Going forward Charlebois says she hopes this verdict will start a greater within the justice system.
Meanwhile, one legal expert says the acquittal of the CBC star proves the justice system is not well-equipped to deal with sexual assault complaints.
Toronto law professor Brenda Cossman says the verdict was not surprising because witnesses are held to unrealistic standards to prove their cases in the current court system.
Prosecutor Michael Callaghan says the Crown will take a look at the judgment and consider its position.
He was making a statement outside court when a topless female protester jumped in front of him, yelling “Ghomeshi guilty!”
Police tackled her to the ground and took her back inside the courthouse as she struggled and kicked the door.
Dozens of other women gathered nearby chanting “We believe the survivors” to denounce the verdict and what they called the unfair treatment of sexual assault victims by the justice system.
The 48-year-old Ghomeshi left the courthouse without speaking to reporters but his sister said the ordeal has been extremely painful for the family.
Jila Ghomeshi said the biggest burden was a feeling of helplessness as her brother was punished even before the verdict, without any semblance of due process for well over a year.
Jacob Jesin, the lawyer representing one of the complainants — says his client understood a conviction would be difficult, but insists her evidence on “substantive issues” was truthful.
During the two year time frame since this case began Charlebois said sexual assault cases increased and although she was unable to provide the exact numbers to Quinte News, she says she expects more victims to come forward within the coming weeks.
For anyone who has been a victim of violence and needs assistance, the Sexual Assault Crisis line is open Monday to Sunday 24 hours call Toll free 1-877-544-6424.
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