Submissions by the Crown and defence are now complete and the trial judge has reserved his decision until March 24th.
The trial has been remarkable for the repeated, pointed, impeachment of the complaints based on email messages they sent to Mr. Ghomeshi following the alleged sexual assaults.
While the conduct of complainants following an alleged assault would ordinarily be only peripherally relevant, in this case the complainants were shown to have be untruthful about their conduct when interviewed by the police, Crown Counsel, and when testifying in court. Further, in the case of Ms. DeCoutere, her email to Mr. Ghomeshi, hours after the alleged assault, revealed her state of mind at the time: a desire to have sex with Mr. Ghomeshi.
One of the realities of historical sexual assault allegations is that the only evidence that an offence occurred is that provided by the complaint. There is often nothing else that can be looked to in order to provide corroboration. Accused people are presumed to be innocent and the Crown is required to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Where a complaint is shown to have lied the Crown may well be unable to establish guilt.
The importance of encouraging the reporting of sexual assaults and the need for the fair adjudication of individual allegations is discussed on Legally Speaking:
Michael Mulligan is a lawyer at Mulligan Tam Pearson in Victoria BC. Legally Speaking is live on CFAX 1070 Thursdays at 11:00am.