Jian Ghomeshi has been found not guilty of all charges laid against him.
Judge William Horkins delivered the ruling on Thursday morning in the Ontario Court of Justice after reading the verdict for more than an hour. The entire verdict can be read here.
The decision comes six weeks after an eight-day trial held at Old City Hall courthouse in Toronto at the beginning of February.
The former broadcaster had been charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking following accusations made by three complainants, he had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
All three complainants had taken to the stand during the trial with Justice Horkins pointing to a large number of inconsistencies in their testimony, saying that all three witnesses “deliberately” decided to withhold important information while on the stand.
These inconsistencies, according to Horkins, undermined the witnesses credibility and left the court with reasonable doubt.
Ghomeshi hugged his mother and sister upon hearing the not guilty verdict before leaving the courthouse through the back door.
He made no comment as he left and his defence lawyer Marie Henein also told reporters that she would not comment on the judgment.
Meanwhile, tensions were high outside Old City Hall courthouse in the wake of the not guilty verdict, with a number of protesters gathering to voice their opposition to the ruling.
Chants of “I believe survivors” were heard outside the courthouse, with one topless protester bearing the names of complainants on her back, taken into police custody after she interrupted a statement being made to the media by Crown prosecutor Michael Callahan.
Reaction to the verdict has been swift, with legal experts and women’s groups saying the not guilty verdict highlights problems with the system designed to find justice in such cases.
University of Toronto law professor Brenda Cossman says witnesses are held to unrealistic standards to prove their cases under the current system, while Nicole Pietsch of the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres says a re-evaluation of pre-conceived notions of whats acceptable in sexual assault cases is needed.
A march and rally to recognize survivors of sexual violence is scheduled to take place in downtown Toronto on Thursday evening.
The event which is being organised by the group We Believe Survivors will begin at city hall at 5:30 p.m. with the group set to march on Toronto police headquarters on College Street an hour later.