Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Ghomeshi Trial Day 2

The defense metaphorically disemboweled the first complainant.

Oh boy.  After the anonymous complainant repeated that she had never again contacted Ghomeshi, Marie Henein produced emails showing that the complainant had contacted him, complete with an attached bikini photo.

The complainant explained that she had wanted Ghomeshi to contact her so she could ask him why he had punched her in the head. The bikini pic was bait. This is certainly credible. And it is credible even that she had forgotten sending the email. Wanting to forget embarrassing things leads, over the years, to forgetting them.  But having forgotten the emails certainly looks terrible for the complainant's credibility. Christie Blatchford, one of Canada's top crime reporters, says the woman was "flakey."

The person coming off best in this trial so far is Marie Henein. The moral of the story, girls, is to study very hard and go to law school, not get jobs on the fringes of TV-land and flirt with celebrities. That said, you do not deserve to be punched in the head if you ignore this lesson.

The first complainant is not on trial, officially. But as this is a "he-said, she-said, she-said, she-said and she-said" case, she unofficially is. Thirteen years later, the only evidence left is the credibility of her story. No fair minded person thinks it would be okay for Ghomeshi to punch women in the head. But what needs to be established is if he punched the heads of the three women testifying against him.

It is perfectly plausible--given the outpourings of testimony to (at very least) the press by fifteen women of abuse at Ghomeshi's hands--that Ghomeshi yanked this woman's hair and she agreed to see him again afterwards. And it is certainly plausible that even if he struck her repeatedly in the head, she would contact him a year later. It might not have even been--as she claims--to talk to him about the beating, for she included in that email--to the famous music journalist/promoter--a video of her singing in a band. It might have been to get publicity for the band. She might have been, despite the alleged beating to the head, dreaming little dreamy-dreams that, having a bizarre bond with Mr Allegedly Creepy, he might help her out. If so, this would be evidence that she was not rooted in reality, but not that he hadn't punched her in the head.

People often lie because they are embarrassed although it would be charitable to assume that First Complainant wasn't lying about her 2004 emails but really did forget them. The lesson for women watching the trial, however, is to tell the truth---no matter how embarrassing it is---if we decide to go to the media or the police about dating violence--and maybe check our memories against  diary entries and our email correspondence.

The truth can be seriously embarrassing when it comes to celebrities because if the truth is that you were hoping to use a celebrity's attraction to yourself to advance your career or gain in some other material way, people might say mean things if you admit it. Frankly, the bikini-shot disturbs me much less than the video of First Complainant's band. Nevertheless, there is no doubt in my mind that a woman can be beaten up by a celebrity and a year later try to get his attention--either to "make things better" or to advance a band. But that still wouldn't make the fact that he beat her up--if he did--okay.

 A young mother in Toronto has published on Facebook a photo of a cute little onesie given to her newborn daughter. It reads "I'M NOT ALLOWED TO DATE ... EVER."  And the young mother could post that without a blush because she didn't as much as kiss the baby's father before they were married. If there were a baby in the Historical House, her onesie would read either "I'M NOT ALLOWED TO TALK TO CELEBRITIES" or "NO FURTHER QUESTIONS, M'LUD."


  1. Oh dear. While we all know how difficult it is to get women to come forward with allegations of rape or assault, and even harder to get convictions, it does seem this trial is heading for an acquittal due to the stunning testimony reversals of the first witness. Flaky indeed.

    Of course the witness may be telling the truth - he may have hit her, but if her testimony changes that much on key facts, it is hard to justify a conviction.

    Perhaps greater questions need to be asked of the prosecutors, such as why they didn't verify basic facts their witnesses claimed about the defendant, like him owning the car the witness alleges they were in at the time she claimed the incident took place. This is exceptionally poor policing and prosecuting, and seems all too common.

    Tragically, genuine victims are the ones who suffer. In my nation, we have just had a foreign diplomat found guilty of a lesser charge when attempted rape matched the evidence (caught forcing his way into the victims room without trousers on, etc). The government had to be shamed into prosecuting after a media campaign to get the diplomat back in the country to face charges! Thankfully the poor victim was courageous enough to endure this shambolic process.


  2. I agree with almost everything you have said. (He could have borrowed or rented a yellow VW bug before he bought one, but I digress.) Well, two complainants to go--for now. (If KG gets off, I can see other victims coming forward.) In a way, this is Canada's OJ trial. At this point, few armchair judges who have read all the testimony of witnesses before the trial will believe KG didn't hit women without consent, but of course the real judge needs to be convinced by evidence.