Ghomeshi trial: Witness says damaging emails were “bait”

Feb 2, 2016 | News

Jian Ghomeshi, a former celebrity radio host who has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault, leaves the courthouse after the first day of his trial alongside his lawyer Marie Henein (L), in Toronto, February 1, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Jian Ghomeshi, a former celebrity radio host who has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault, leaves the courthouse alongside his lawyer Marie Henein. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Christiana Chan and Veronica Appia

Jian Ghomeshi’s legal team raised eyebrows during the second day of his sexual assault trial as they revealed new evidence inconsistent with the first complainant’s testimony in court.

Defence lawyer Marie Henein continued her  grueling cross-examination of the witness at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Henein introduced a video to the court depicting the witness giving her statement to police in 2014.

In the video, a detective questioned the witness about which way Ghomeshi had pulled her hair at the end of their initial outing together, the first of two incidents of sexual assault reported by the witness.

He asked the witness if Ghomeshi had pulled her hair toward the seat, and in the video she agreed that had happened. However, in court, she said this statement was incorrect and that Ghomeshi had pulled her hair towards the window rather than the seat.

“These are memories and in the early days you remember early pieces of them, but as you sit you begin to remember them,” the witness told the court.

Henein then questioned the witness about the discrepancy between her testimony and what she initially told police about her second outing with Ghomeshi. That encounter took place at his house, where the witness said he grabbed her hair, pulled her to the ground and punched her repeatedly in the head.

Henein said the complainant indicated in her statement to police that she did not know how she got on the ground.

“When I was describing this, I am describing being pulled down,” the witness told the court. “I was being punched in the head violently. I was confused. So that’s where I’m saying I don’t know how I got there.”

Henein raises questions over e-mail

Henein asked the witness if she agreed that she was so traumatized by the events that she couldn’t bear to watch Ghomeshi on T.V. or listen to him on the radio.

The witness agreed this was true.

Henein also asked the witness if she had any dealing with Jian Ghomeshi.

The witness said no.

The defence team then showed the court two e-mails dating back to 2004, where the complainant reached out to Ghomeshi, after the alleged 2003 assault.

The first was sent on Jan. 16 with the subject “Play>Boy” saying the following:

Hello Play>boy

Good to see you again! Your show is still great, when you take a break from ploughing snow naked, take a look at [website]. If you search you will find the video [name of friend] and I did. The song has a T.Rex flavor to it.
If you want to keep in touch this is my email!!!! Or [phone number]

Six months later, in an e-mail sent on June 22, the complainant attached a photo of herself wearing a string bikini and said the following:

Hi Jian,
I’ve been watching you on Screw The Vote and I thought I’d drop a line and say hello. Hope all is well. Say hello to [name of friend] for me if you see him.

“You are now inviting the man who had traumatized you to contact you,” Henein said to the complainant. “Are you prepared to admit that you lied under oath?”

“I wanted Jian to call me so I can ask him why he violently punched me in the head,” the witness said. “I’m giving you, under oath, that I did not want to see him. The e-mail was bait.”

This final exhibit concluded the defence’s cross-examination. The Crown announced there will be no re-examination.

Ghomeshi’s trial will resume at Old City Hall on Thursday morning.