Just over a year after charges were first laid against the disgraced C-B-C broadcaster, the trial of Jian Ghomeshi begins Monday in Toronto.
The former host of ‘Q’ on CBC Radio will be tried by judge alone, after pleading not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking.
Back in October of 2014, the CBC announced Ghomeshi was taking some time off to “deal with some personal issues,” but just two days later another statement revealed the network had cut ties with him.
The CBC would later explain that Ghomeshi was terminated after seeing what it described as “graphic evidence” that he had physically injured a woman.
Ghomeshi defended himself in a Facebook post, admitting to engaging in “rough sex” but claimed the encounters were always consensual.
“I’ve been fired from the CBC because of the risk of my private sex life being made public as a result of a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer,” Ghomeshi claimed on Facebook.
He was first charged by Toronto Police on November 26th, 2014, accused of inflicting violence on three women while on dates with them.
The 48-year-old faces charges stemming from allegations about his conduct between December 1st, 2002, and July 2nd, 2003.
One of the complainants is Lucy DeCoutere, an actress on the TV show Trailer Park Boys, has waived the publication ban on her identity. She’s accused Ghomeshi of choking her “to the point she could not breathe” and slapping her repeatedly during a date.
The identities of the other two complainants are protected by a publication ban.
Ghomeshi launched a $55-million lawsuit in October 2014 against the CBC, alleging he was fired because of the network’s “fear of how the public would react to” his controversial sex life.
The lawsuit was dropped a month later.
Ghomeshi is represented by defense lawyer Marie Henein, whose former clients include Michael Bryant, the one-time attorney general. The judge in the trial is William B. Horkins.
The trial is expected to last at least three weeks.
If convicted of sexual assault, Ghomeshi faces a maximum sentence of 18 months behind bars. If convicted of the choking charge, he faces a potential sentence of life in prison.
In addition to the charges he goes on trial for Monday, Ghomeshi is facing one other count of sexual assault that will be tried separately in June.