Fourth witness to refute claims that Ghomeshi complainant lied: Crown
Published Tuesday, February 9, 2016 4:54AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 9, 2016 11:15PM EST
A statement from a fourth witness will be permitted in the trial of Jian Ghomeshi, despite attempts by the defence to prevent her testimony from being included.
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Ghomeshi's lawyers tried to prevent the witness' statement from being entered in court, saying that she would provide evidence that was not "substantially consistent."
They said the witness would "prolong" the trial, because she is in Nova Scotia and unable to testify until Thursday. The lawyers added that the defence would be ready to close on Wednesday if the witness' testimony was blocked.
However, the judge ruled that the witness should be heard in the form of a police statement. The Crown will file the witness' statement to police, and will be presented in court and made public on Wednesday.
The judge said the "safest course" is to hear the evidence, then determine its value.
The Crown has said that the witness will corroborate testimony given by one of the complainants in the sexual assault trial. The witness would refute the defence's claim that testimony from one of the complainants in his sexual assault trial was fabricated.
The former CBC Radio host's lawyers accused a complainant of lying on the sixth day of Ghomeshi's trial. Ghomeshi is facing four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking.
He has always denied any wrongdoing and claimed his sexual relations were consensual. He is being tried by judge alone.
Lawyers Marie Henein and Danielle Robitaille told the court Tuesday morning that they plan to argue that actress Lucy DeCoutere "lied about events" while on the stand last week.
On Thursday and Friday, DeCoutere testified that Ghomeshi had choked her, then slapped her three times while they were in his bedroom in July 2003.
DeCoutere said she had consented to kissing him, but not to the violence.
When she was cross-examined, the court learned that DeCoutere had sent multiple emails to Ghomeshi following the alleged assault. In one email, referenced in court again Monday, she wrote: "You kicked my ass last night and that makes me want to f**k your brains out tonight."
DeCoutere acknowledged that she had sent the email, but said she didn't remember writing it.
"I totally forgot about it. I guess I wanted to forget about it," she said.
DeCoutere also sent Ghomeshi a hand-written letter, that ended with the phrase: "I love your hands."
Henein and Robitaille said Tuesday that they believe that DeCoutere lied during her testimony, and alleged that she told the story "for fame." The defence said they believe she may have colluded with the other two complainants in the case.
The defence is also questioning inconsistencies in DeCoutere's testimony and police statement, including whether Ghomeshi allegedly choked her with one hand or two.
The Crown said its witness would support DeCoutere's version of events, but the witness lives in Nova Scotia so would not be able to testify until Thursday.
On Monday, the court heard from the third and final complainant in the case, who became friends with DeCoutere more than 10 years after their alleged assaults.
The woman, who cannot be named, is a dancer who spent time with Ghomeshi in 2003.
The complainant described several encounters with the former broadcaster, including one occasion when she said he put his hands on her throat while they were kissing.
She said she felt unsafe and had difficulty breathing during the incident.
During cross-examination, the woman revealed that she had discussed the allegations with fellow complainant DeCoutere. The women met and became friends more than 10 years after their alleged assaults.
Another complainant took the stand early last week, telling the court of her experiences on dates with Ghomeshi. She said she was punched in the head by the radio host while on a second date at his home.
Cross-examination revealed she had also emailed Ghomeshi after the alleged assault, and sent him a photo of herself in a bikini. She said the emails were "bait" meant to lure Ghomeshi into talking about what had happened.
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