Just over a year after charges were first laid against the disgraced CBC broadcaster, the trial of Jian Ghomeshi began Monday in Toronto with a witness describing Ghomeshi as a flirtatious charmer with a sinister side.
The witness cannot be identified under a publication ban. Court was told the former CBC star came across as a humble, charming man who turned dark and violent without warning. She said he pulled her hair so hard it caused her pain and once punched her in the head multiple times.
Ghomeshi’s lawyer accused her of failing to remember important details or even making up some of her story. Cross-examination also saw Lawyer Marie Henein suggest that the witness was unhappy that the popular radio host appeared to have lost interest in her, which the witness denied.
The former host of ‘Q’ on CBC Radio is being tried by judge alone, after pleading not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking.
Back in October of 2014, the CBC announced Ghomeshi was taking some time off to “deal with some personal issues,” but just two days later another statement revealed the network had cut ties with him.
The CBC would later explain that Ghomeshi was terminated after seeing what it described as “graphic evidence” that he had physically injured a woman.
Ghomeshi defended himself in a Facebook post, admitting to engaging in “rough sex” but claimed the encounters were always consensual.
If convicted of sexual assault, Ghomeshi faces a maximum sentence of 18 months behind bars. If convicted of the choking charge, he faces a potential sentence of life in prison.
In addition to the charges he goes on trial for Monday, Ghomeshi is facing one other count of sexual assault that will be tried separately in June.