The Ghomeshi Lessons

(In Canada, the trial of CBC radio broadcasting celebrity Jian Ghomeshi for sexual assault made headlines for weeks.)

Jian GhomeshiIt was surprising that the Crown was unable to produce evidence that could be shown in court to be true beyond reasonable doubt.

The investigative reporting of the case by the media, especially by the Toronto Star, was on the whole appropriate. As long as the coverage was fair and balanced, it conformed with basic principles of journalistic ethics. Reporters need not presume innocence, as courts must.

The Judge, W.B.J. Horkins, did not deny that the events on which the prosecution was based took place (see section 140 of the judgment). The problem was that the Crown could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they happened.

This suggests that a system should be devised for such cases where the rules of evidence are more flexible.

In recent years, the CBC has not had much experience dealing with success, even though CBC radio, especially in the mornings, is a success story. Thanks to Ghomeshi’s personality and skill, he became a celebrity, with consequences that were fatal to his career. The CBC’s reluctance to deal with the complaints against him promptly should be judged with understanding and sympathy.


3 responses to “The Ghomeshi Lessons

  1. Michael Gundy

    I thought Judge Horkins was very balanced in his judgement. As presented here, the behaviour of the Crown witnesses was not mentioned. The Crown witnesses lost their credibility through collusion and with that, reasonable doubt.

    I believe justice was served.

  2. mike holliday

    Not good enough. A man has had his reputation trashed and his life permanently blighted. Someone – an individual or any entity – is responsible.
    Probably through a combination of self aggrandisement and a wish to corrupt the judicial process, someone released information that has destroyed Jian Ghomeshi’s reputation.
    Incredibly it’s still going on with a judge saying `he’s guilty, but we can’t prove it.’
    I hope Ghomeshi sues and gets millions.
    I also hope that any damages come out of the pockets of the people who released this information and the news organisations that so gleefully published it.
    I want them out of their jobs and financially ruined – so at least Ghomeshi has company in his nightmare.

  3. So, what’s the dividing line between criminal behaviour and unacceptable behaviour? Trial by media can be ugly but this story has been running for a long time and there has been considerable responsible reporting about the accusations themselves and the legal and socio/cultural issues. Also, I choose to believe that the Crown behaves responsibly and that the case would not have been pursued unless there was a possibility of guilt. Ghomeshi’s behaviour was a train wreck waiting to happen, affecting his own life and the lives of the people around him. He is young enough to get his act together and to be a better human being.