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article imageOp-Ed: Ghomeshi ruling not fault of Judge but accusers, police and Crown

By Marcus Hondro     Mar 25, 2016 in Crime
Canadians were shocked upon hearing of sexual assault accusations against Jian Ghomeshi. Indeed, initially there were those who refused to believe the women making the accusations, but after time, as more kept coming, they changed their minds.
Horkins acquits
Now I'd wager that a vast majority of Canadians wanted to see Mr. Ghomeshi found guilty, not acquitted, as we learned he was yesterday when Justice William B. Horkins acquitted him on all four charges of sexual assault and one charge of overcoming resistance by choking.
Many of these same people who once doubted the accusations have now come full circle and are outraged with Justice Horkins. Wrongly, and foolishly so.
For it is hardly the judges fault each of the three accusers were, as he said in his ruling, "deceptive and manipulative" in their testimony. Collectively they left out a plethora of important and relevant details at the trial, much like Donald Trump leaves out dignity and decorum at his rallies.
But don't take my words, take those of Justice Horkins: "Each complainant demonstrated, to some degree, a willingness to ignore their oath to tell the truth on more than one occasion," he read from the bench Thursday. "It is this aspect of their evidence that is most troubling to the Court.
"The harsh reality is that once a witness has been shown to be deceptive and manipulative in giving their evidence," he said. "That witness can no longer expect the Court to consider them to be a trusted source of the truth."
Blame all around
The question becomes who is at fault and how will it be turned around in time for the next trial in June. Again, I'd wager most Canadians want to see a conviction because they believe that Jian Ghomeshi is guilty of these alleged crimes.
Unhappily in the search for fault we must begin not with the judge but the accusers themselves. With the very women brave enough to step forward and sit in a courtroom to tell their story.
Now before you holler about blaming the victims, recognize that I do not blame the victims of these alleged sexual assaults for these alleged sexual assaults, but rather blame those same women but as accusers, for their dishonesty.
The reality is that disclosure, full disclosure, plays a vital role, and historically and rightly so, in Canadian jurisprudence and their ignoring that was a mistake. Naturally, it is easy to criticize and we must acknowledge the difficulty of their position and admit we cannot know what they were thinking and feeling as they went through this entire process.
So how much can we blame them for their "deception and manipulation" as Justice Horkins called it? Well they were making serious accusations. It does seem that they should have considered that the truth, all of it, was a necessary requirement, especially given the venue in which their stories would play out.
But in the final analysis they are not experts in law and they were the ones who were grossly (allegedly) wronged to begin this whole sorry affair.
In some respects they cooked their own goose, yes, however there were mitigating realities and all three women had a great deal of help preparing the meal. Which brings us to the police and the prosecution.
How did these professionals fail to impart upon these women that all the details, including contact, sexual or otherwise, including emails, between them and Jian Ghomeshi, must be included in their testimony? It was the job of the police and prosecution to impress upon them that they must reveal everything, and that if they did not the likelihood was that lawyer Marie Henein would.
So blame for the deception is more upon the shoulders of those who know the law and importance of full disclosure, and less upon the neophytes to it, the nonprofessionals, the accusers. Those who interviewed the women and prepared them for trial were, it seems obvious, terribly remiss.
New Ghomeshi trial
But here's this: do not despair for there is a chance, and a good one, justice will prevail. That is because another trial is scheduled to begin June 6 and this first Ghomeshi trial will color this next Ghomeshi trial like a toddler colors a page. It will be all over it.
The accuser in this next case, not named due to a publication ban, will now rush to include every detail of all of her experiences with Ghomeshi and the police and Crown will re-interview and re-prepare her, impressing upon her the concept and importance of full-disclosure.
This next time there will be no surprises for Ms. Henein to uncover and present to the court, thereby making herself look good while bringing into question the integrity of the complainant.
So instead of wringing your hands and emoting into the boiling cauldron of social media your angst about the verdict and your anger at the judge for rendering it, recognize that the accusers, police and the prosecution unintentionally conspired to provide it.
And recognize that the likelihood of such a verdict happening again in June has been severely reduced because of it.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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