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