The Jian Ghomeshi assault case is like a car wreck–you can’t look away. 23 women came forward to tell their stories but in the end, just three victims testified in court. The three strongest, one assumes. The three most cogent, most able to withstand the pressure of being cross-examined. And yet….
You have to wonder if any of this rises to the legal level of proving beyond a reasonable doubt. The lack of forensic evidence, pictures, skin scrapings, was troublesome from the beginning. Then the lack of eyewitnesses to the attacks. Yes, I know eyewitness testimony is often contradictory but at least police and the Crown have more to go on than he said/she said.
And then there’s the witnesses themselves. What they did not tell police and the Crown during repeated pre-trial questioning. That left the prosecution being blindsided in court. No, it should not matter one whit what happened after-not the flowers or the love letters or the flirty messages or the bikinied photos or subsequent handj**s. None of that should have a bearing on whether or not the accused hit someone. It shouldn’t but it does. Heather Mallick’s great piece in today’s Toronto Star is just one in a series of articles decrying how women are treated in such cases. Writers point out that a burglary victim isn’t chastised in court for leaving his drapes open. Blame the victim is the repeated refrain.
What of the accused? Closing arguments are tomorrow and no, Jian Ghomeshi will not testify. Smart choice by his smart lawyer. Do you for an instant think he wouldn’t try to seduce the audience into buying into his narrative that this was consensual, fun, sexy beyond what vanilla types in the burbs could possibly comprehend?
His silence is the perfect legal play but what about in the court of public opinion? Would hearing ‘his side’ rehabilitate the Ghomeshi brand, make him employable, palatable again?
I can’t see how but then again, I didn’t see the OJ Not Guilty verdict nor the Donald Trump Presidential campaign coming either.