The Jian Ghomeshi trial came and went, although the former radio celeb will be back in court in June. Ghomeshi is present but not accounted for in the sense that he has to testify. That is the responsibility of his accusers and the first three did not fare well, all being dismantled in questioning by Ghomeshi's formidable lawyer, Marie Henein. Henein did exactly what she was employed to do, and the outcome was what everyone who knows the judicial system expected. While she was vilified as a traitor to her gender she did an exemplary job as a lawyer, regardless of gender.
As a Christian minister who has listened to many heart-wrenching stories of assault and abuse, and as a person married to a former Women's Shelter counsellor, the outcome of this case was not satisfying. While I appreciate why Ghomeshi was acquitted, I am not convinced justice was done for those three women, many more who didn't press charges, and for women everywhere who are reluctant to enter into the murky waters of a legal system that seldom addresses sexual assault cases without leaving the complainants feeling they have been made victims again. I felt that the judge unnecessarily scolded the complainants, even though their testimony was not sufficiently credible for a conviction.
In the end Ghomeshi was acquitted in a court of law, but not in the court of public opinion, as Toronto Star writer Judith Timson so cogently reminds us. In her excellent article she poses ten questions I feel get to the heart of the moral and ethical matters.
1. Mr. Ghomeshi, why do you think so many women — not just these three but easily a dozen more — came forward to the media with accounts of having been abused or assaulted by you? Is it your contention that every single one of these women was lying or mistaken or vengeful? If so, why would that be?
I did feel that some of the post-trial reaction was "over the top" but the issues around sexual assault have not been resolved and once again the provisions of the law are found wanting.
How did you feel at the end of it all? Do we need to re-examine the way our judicial system addresses sexual assault?