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Everything You Need to Know About the Jian Ghomeshi Trial

Experts expect the trial to be vicious.

by VICE Staff
Jan 29 2016, 7:27pm

Jian Ghomeshi makes his way through a mob of media with his lawyer Marie Henein at a Toronto court on November 26, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

It's expected to be one of the most closely-watched trials in Canadian history.

Former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi will be in a courtroom Monday facing five charges, four counts of sexual assault and one of overcome resistance by choking.

There are three complainants in the case, with the alleged incidents occurring in 2002 and 2003, and a fourth woman's case is expected to be heard later this year in a separate trial. Two other charges of sexual assault were dropped last May, with the Crown saying they had no reasonable possibility of a conviction.

In October of 2014, CBC terminated its relationship with the Q host, to which Ghomeshi responded with a long Facebook rant saying he was fired because of a "campaign" by a "jilted ex" who was going to air his private sex life.

Soon after the Toronto Star published its bombshell story, brought to them by freelancer Jesse Brown, in which three women alleged they experienced sexual violence at the hands of Ghomeshi.

One of the women who came forward was Trailer Park Boys actress Lucy DeCoutere, who is the only one of the three complaints in the upcoming trial who can be publicly identified.

She accused Ghomeshi of choking her to the point she could not breathe and slapping her "hard three times on the side of her head.''

Ghomeshi was charged in late November of 2014, following a month-long police investigation.

Legal analysts expect the complainants' credibility to be severely questioned by Ghomeshi's high-priced lawyer Marie Henein, just known for keeping former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant out of jail on a criminal negligence causing death charge.

More directly relating to the Ghomeshi case, Henein also defended junior hockey coach David Frost, who was charged with four counts of sexual exploitation involving his players. He was found not guilty.

Henein's cross-examinations of the women involved during the trial were referred to as "relentless" by observers.

An often-cited Toronto Life profile profile on Henein said her cross-examinations had the subtlety of a machete and featured Bryant saying she channelled "Hannibal Lector."

Ghomeshi's trial, expected to last at least several weeks, comes in the midst of a wider conversation about sexual assault and the justice system. While not total in their parallels, the similarity to the Bill Cosby case in the US is rather striking.

The case is being tried by judge alone. Ghomeshi faces a maximum sentence of 18 months for the sexual assault charges, because they being dealt with summarily, but the overcome resistance charges carries a max sentence of life imprisonment.

Ghomeshi has been out on $100,000 bail and has had to live with his mother since late 2014. Once a fixture in the Toronto social scene, Ghomeshi has barely been seen since.

That will change Monday.