More than a year since the allegations against CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi sent a media storm across Canada, his highly anticipated trial has begun in downtown Toronto.
We break down the scandal and highlight what we can expect in the courtroom over the course of the trial.
It was October 2014 when the allegations against the radio star stunned the country. On October 24, 2014, the CBC announced Ghomeshi would be taking time off to deal with some “personal issues.’ But two days later, the corporation cut ties with the “Q”; radio host, saying new information “precludes us from continuing our relationship with Jian Ghomeshi.”;
That same evening, Ghomeshi posted a Facebook message that would spark a scandal never seen before in Canadian media. In the message, he claimed a jilted ex-lover was setting out to portray him as a sexual predator. Ghomeshi said that while they had “rough sex,”; he only engages in “sexual practices that are mutually agreed upon.”; The former CBC host also added that the CBC fired him, not because they believed his accuser, but because they felt his “sexual behaviour was unbecoming of a prominent host on the CBC,”; and they were worried the story would leak.
ET Canada spoke with criminal defence lawyer Robb MacDonald, who said, “I would say that the Facebook post will not hurt him. In a sense, he’s taking the bull by the horns, he addresses the issues.”;
Later that evening, the Toronto Star broke the story, detailing allegations from three women who said Ghomeshi was physically violent towards them without their consent, during sexual encounters.
On October 27, Ghomeshi denied all allegations and launched a $55 million lawsuit against the CBC, alleging breach of confidence, bad faith and defamation. The following day, the CBC aired an interview with a woman who claimed to have had a violent experience with Ghomeshi, saying: “[He] pulled my hair, threw me in front of him and started hitting me closed fist in the side of my head.”;
What seemed to really catch the attention of people, was when “Trailer Park Boys”; actress Lucy DeCoutere told the Toronto Star she had a violent encounter with Ghomeshi. She was the first accuser to publicly identify herself: “We started kissing which was very normal and then at a certain point he pressed me up against the wall with my throat and he slapped me… which was not… invited.”;
Following this reveal, Kevin Donovan from the Toronto Star said: “I believe that by her coming forward and putting her face to the allegation, she was a catalyst for other people related to both the Ghomeshi case and, quite frankly, to all sorts of other cases.”;
On October 30, Ghomeshi posed another Facebook message saying he intended to “meet these allegations directly.”; Meanwhile, the CBC hired a third-party company to conduct an investigation into Ghomeshi’s alleged workplace harassment.
On November 1, the Toronto Police officially opened a case against Ghomeshi, and on November 25, Ghomeshi dropped his CBC lawsuit. The following day, he surrendered to authorities. Admidst a media storm, Ghomeshi appeared in court to face four charges of sexual assault and one count of choking, pleading not guilty. He was released on a $100,000 bail, and had to reside with his mother.
On January 8, Ghomeshi made another court appearance where he was charged with three more counts of sexual assault. Since then, two of the seven charges have been dropped by prosecutors due to lack of evidence.
It’s been a year since this all went down and Ghomeshi came to court Monday morning to face a judge for the first of two trials dealing with his numerous sexual assault charges. This trial is expected to last a couple of weeks.
Watch the media frenzy that erupted when Ghomeshi appeared in court for the first day of his trial Monday.