Jian Ghomeshi trial: Complainants ‘omitted’ details, exchanged 5,000 messages with each other

Third woman takes stand at Jian Ghomeshi trial
WATCH: The trial of disgraced radio host Jian Ghomeshi has heard from a third woman accusing him of sexual assault. Jennifer Tryon explains how the defence went after this latest witness.

(WARNING: This story contains graphic language)

The sexual assault trial of former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi heard Monday afternoon that a complainant had “omitted” key details in her police statement and exchanged thousands of messages with another alleged victim before and after making statements to the police.

Ghomeshi’s lawyer Marie Henein revealed the complainant had exchanged roughly 5,000 messages with Trailer Park Boys actress Lucy DeCoutere, who testified last week.

The woman, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, testified earlier Monday she had communicated with DeCoutere but didn’t discuss the allegations – to which defence lawyer Marie Henein purported that she had.

Henein said the messages began on Oct. 29, 2014 – the same day DeCoutere went public with her allegations. Henein said the woman reported the alleged assault to police in December 2014, and the correspondence with DeCoutere continued until September 2015.

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Henein says the complainant and DeCoutere talked about their hatred for Ghomeshi.

“I want so f—ing badly for that piece of sh-t to pay for what he’s done,” the woman says in one message to DeCoutere.

Henein says in some of the messages DeCoutere instructs the woman to contact DeCoutere’s lawyer and her publicist. In other messages DeCoutere gave a “detailed and lengthy breakdown” of her own meetings with the Crown.

WATCH: Jian Ghomeshi arrives at court as trial hears alleged accounts of third complainant
Ghomeshi arrives at trial as third accuser set to take stand
Ghomeshi arrives at trial as third accuser set to take stand

The witness also told DeCoutere “I wanted to know what they know” and that she sought to find out “how much they can dig” with regard to the defence looking into her correspondence and personal life.

“It really depends on how much money he wants to spend,” the witness told DeCoutere about how much investigating the defence could do into their lives.

Henein also produced correspondence that showed the witness had invited Ghomeshi to numerous events after the alleged attack including a CD party and “stag and doe,” to which the witness responded this was done on a “professional” level with regard to the arts industry and not on a personal one.

The defence lawyer alleged that this type of contact was different than what the complainant had told police – namely that she had kept her “distance” from Ghomeshi.

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The witness testified that to the best of her knowledge she had not reached out to Ghomeshi on a personal level, but Henein produced correspondence between the two where she had written “nice to see you the other night” and asked if he “still want to have that drink sometime?”

Earlier, the alleged victim testified the two were consensually kissing in a park during an event in Toronto in August 2003, when she suddenly felt his hands squeezing her neck to the point where she had difficulty breathing.

WATCH: The third alleged victim in the case against the former broadcaster is on the stand, which the judge ruled that she cannot be identified. Christina Stevens reports.
Jian Ghomeshi sex assault trial continues its 5th day at old city hall
Jian Ghomeshi sex assault trial continues its 5th day at old city hall

In addition to testifying that she did not consent to the alleged incident, the witness told the court she also spent the night with the former CBC Radio host. She added that she didn’t report the “sexual encounter” to police until last Friday, after hearing media reports that emails had surfaced in a previous witness’s cross-examination.

The witness, whose identity is protected under a publication ban, said she met Ghomeshi through connections in the arts community and moved to Toronto in the summer of 2003.

Once there, she said Ghomeshi approached her at an event, came up behind her and rested his arms on her shoulders while she was talking to a group of teenagers.

When asked by the teens how she knew Ghomeshi, she said that he said the two were “engaged” – something she said felt like he was “taking ownership” of her.

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The witness said she did not remember details of how that interaction came to a close, but said she then saw him again for dinner in Toronto’s Danforth neighbourhood shortly afterward.

READ MORE: Ghomeshi emails reveal growing importance of ‘digital debris’ to trials

She added that while having dinner on the patio of the restaurant, she felt “aware fairly quickly” that it was “odd” they were so “out in the open” on a patio in full view of the public.

“He seemed very aware of who was noticing him,” the witness said, adding that she didn’t remember how the dinner with Ghomeshi had initiated but she did consider it a date.

She told the court the next time she saw Ghomeshi was at an event in a park in Toronto and that the two were “making out” in a secluded area after a performance.

She said it was consensual and felt like it lasted “minutes.”

“All of a sudden I felt his hands on my shoulders, and his teeth, and then his hands were around my neck and he was squeezing,” she told the court, adding that she didn’t immediately attempt to get away.

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“It all happened so fast.”

The witness described the encounter as “rough.” She felt that “something wasn’t right” and that there was a “switch” in Ghomeshi and that his hand was then on her mouth “sort of smothering” her.

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The complainant said her “instinct” was to get away from Ghomeshi quickly, adding that she wanted “no part in it” and that it didn’t feel “sexy.”

She said she didn’t remember what, if anything, Ghomeshi said to her during that moment – but added that she didn’t feel “safe.”

“I got out of it and I got up,” she testified.

The witness said she did consent to kissing Ghomeshi, but not to the alleged choking or hands over her mouth.

“I was never asked,” she said, adding she believed she then got in a cab and left but doesn’t remember what her thought process was at the time.

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“It’s a big blank.”

After that alleged incident, the complainant said she then met Ghomeshi for dinner and drinks at a restaurant on King Street in downtown Toronto.

READ MORE: Trailer Park Boys actress wrote ‘love letter’ to Jian Ghomeshi days after alleged attack

She said he was “very charming” and that she “second-guessed” herself when she decided to meet with him again.

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“Maybe I misread it. Maybe if I give him another chance it will be different,” she said of her decision to have dinner with Ghomeshi after the alleged incident.

She said the two then went to her home and had a “sexual encounter” that night, but did not reveal these details to police in her statement initially because she felt like it wasn’t “relevant” to what she was being asked and that it was “embarrassing.”

Crown lawyer Michael Callaghan said those details were reported to police on Friday in an additional statement, after the witness heard the “tail end” of CBC Radio coverage about emails being brought out against witnesses in the trial last week and felt she “had to just tell” police of the encounter.

The complainant told police Friday that the same night she and Ghomeshi went to the King Street bar, the two had “messed around” and that she gave Ghomeshi a “hand job.”

She told the court she accepted she was being “deliberately misleading” to police about the alleged sexual encounter, when asked by Henein, as she initially told police she had only wanted to keep things “friendly” with Ghomeshi.

Henein then pointed to numerous occasions when police had asked her about specific interactions with Ghomeshi or details about other encounters, to which she had not provided information about their alleged sexual encounter.

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Police had asked the complainant if there were any “sexual discussions” with Ghomeshi after the initial alleged incident, which she responded there had not been.

She told the court Monday that technically there was no “discussion” about the “hand job” but Henein then questioned that statement and asked how Ghomeshi could have “magically” ended up in her home allegedly receiving the sexual act.

The witness even told police she did not have sex with Ghomeshi, adding that she believed the alleged “hand job” “wasn’t sex” and wasn’t “intercourse” nor was it “relevant” to their investigation.

Henein purported that the witness had only told police about the alleged sexual encounter with Ghomeshi after she thought she would be “caught,” but the complainant responded that it was her “first kick of the can” and that she had “omitted” details to police when asked if she had lied.

As the defence finished its cross-examination, the Crown responded by highlighting that she had never “altered” or deleted emails after she had learned that she would be required to turn them over to a third party.

An additional witness could not make it to Toronto due to weather issues, but the defence said it would be questioning the admissibility of the witness with Justice William B. Horkins on Tuesday morning.

Following that decision, the witness would be set to testify on Wednesday or Thursday.

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In her earlier testimony, the witness said Ghomeshi introduced her to a writer over drinks the night of the alleged “hand job” who asked how long the two had been dating – to which she said Ghomeshi allegedly responded, “we’re not seeing each other, we’re just f—ing,” which she said upset her.

Crown lawyer Michael Callaghan said those details were reported to police on Friday in an additional statement, after the witness heard the “tail end” of CBC Radio coverage about emails being brought out against witnesses in the trial last week and felt she “had to just tell” police of the encounter.

She said she was introduced to a New York Times writer over drinks that same night, who asked how long the two had been dating – to which she said Ghomeshi allegedly responded, “we’re not seeing each other, we’re just f—ing,” which she said upset her.

She said she didn’t confront Ghomeshi on the comment, because there was a “Jekyll and Hyde” type of scenario happening with him and that other things he had said and done during the evening would have succeeded it causing her to brush off the comment.

The alleged victim then told the court of another encounter she had with Ghomeshi at a party in Toronto.

While there, the witness said each time she spoke with Ghomeshi during the party he would tell her that her friend was “controlling her” and didn’t have her “best interests” at heart.

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She said the “warning bells were really clear for me” during that evening because her friend was not controlling or manipulative.

After they left the party together, she said she got out and slammed the door of Ghomeshi’s car.

“You’re f—ing crazy. Lose my number, don’t ever call me again,” she said she told Ghomeshi after the argument about her friend.

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She added that there was “no boyfriend-girlfriend kind of scenario” with Ghomeshi at that point, adding that in her mind the relationship was over after the argument.

She said she flew to Vancouver the next day and that Ghomeshi called her and asked how she was. She testified that she told him to “leave me alone.”

The witness testified that the pair had numerous other encounters over the years but that to the “best of [her] knowledge” she never went out of her way to see Ghomeshi again.

She said her decision to go to the media was prompted by “an unfurling of circumstances” that began after she had shared an experience on Facebook.

That’s when the alleged victim said the Toronto Star contacted her through Facebook and asked if she’d be interested in speaking with journalist Kevin Donovan, who was working on a story about Ghomeshi at the time.

She went to the police days later, after saying she “recognized a pattern” and a “familiarity” in the allegations against Ghomeshi, adding that she realized she thought she wasn’t the only alleged victim.

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“It was time for me to do so,” she said about her decision to give a statement to police, after initially thinking it was “best for everybody” if she didn’t because she didn’t want to be perceived as “hysterical” or hurt a family member’s career.

The complainant’s testimony Monday came after Henein requested a closed-door hearing after she stressed that the witness was in the courtroom last Tuesday waiting to testify, but did not make any attempts to give a new statement to police or the Crown before her new statement to police on Friday.

That new statement by the complainant was given to police last Friday and was disclosed to the defence on Sunday.

“She indicated that she had been listening to the news, contrary to your Honour’s order,” Henein said.

“As a result of what she had heard, her lawyer contacted the Crown late Thursday night and on Friday morning [the witness] gave the police statement.”

Henein said additional information was also added early Monday morning.

“I confess that the constant late-breaking changes make me feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone,” Henein told Justice William B. Horkins.

“But my instructions are to proceed and so I need to address this in the most efficient way that I can.”

Callaghan said there was no attempt to mislead the defence, adding that they were given a summary of the new information on Friday and the defence had all the information on Sunday.

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Ghomeshi’s lawyer called for an extended lunch break to further examine details of the witness’ disclosure.

Forty-eight-year-old Ghomeshi, who rose to fame as host of CBC Radio One’s popular current affairs program Q, stands accused of four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking.

The trial is in its fifth day, and Ghomeshi, who was born in London, England but raised in Thornhill, Ont., has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

He will face a second trial in June on a separate charge of sexual assault, which arose from an alleged incident in January 2008 while he was the host of Q.