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article imageJian Ghomeshi sex assault trial starts Thursday in Toronto court

By Marcus Hondro     Jan 5, 2015 in Crime
Whether Canada is ready for it or not 2015 will begin with repeat news from 2014 as disgraced former-CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi's criminal trial is set to start on Thursday, Jan. 8. It's not clear if Ghomeshi himself will appear in court on that date.
Mr. Ghomeshi's high-profile criminal lawyer, Marie Henein, told media after his first and only court appearance on Nov. 26, that her client would be pleading not guilty to the charges against him.
In court he was released on $100,000 bail and a promise to appear; his bail conditions required him to surrender his passport, not to have contact with any of his alleged victims and to reside at his mother's home.
He has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and one of overcoming resistance by choking. In total three women have laid charges against Ghomeshi, including Lucy DeCoutere, a captain in the army reserves and former cast member of the TV show Trailer Park Boys. As many as nine or more others have spoken to media, claiming they were in some way assaulted by him.
Jian Ghomeshi: to enter plea
The entering of his plea Thursday in a Toronto court will be the biggest issue on that day. Should Mr. Ghomeshi have decided to plead guilty — that seems unlikely given what we heard from his lawyer — then in essence the case will be over. It will then be up to the judge to determine when sentencing will occur. But again, not likely.
If, as is likely, Mr. Ghomeshi does as Ms. Henein said he will do and pleads not guilty a few other details may take place. It's not certain that Ghomeshi will even be in the courtroom. The defendant and prosecutors may speak with the judge about how much more time they need to fully prepare their cases. The appearance will end with another court date being set.
In other words, the court date on Thursday will not be overly newsworthy, especially if the man himself does not physically make an appearance. He looked very un-Ghomeshi like on Nov. 26, drained of confidence as he was.
Outside the court the 47-year-old looked a bit of the deer in headlights as media hordes swirled around him and flashed photos. He spoke only a handful of words in the court that day, telling the judge he understood the charges; he did not make a statement outside the court.
On October 30, four days after being fired by the CBC, Mr. Ghomeshi wrote online that he would "meet these allegations directly" and he has insisted that his alleged crimes took place within the context of consensual rough sex.
In late November, Ghomeshi dropped his $55 million lawsuit against the CBC and had to pay $18,000 in legal costs to the public broadcaster. He still has a grievance pending over his firing through his union, the Canadian Media Guild. However, the carriage of that grievance is in the hands of the union and it is not certain they will elect to go forward with it.
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