The first complainant in the Jian Ghomeshi trial has waived her right to a ban on her identity and says she hopes the former CBC Radio host “doesn’t hurt somebody really badly in the future.”
Linda Redgrave testified she had a “flirtatious” meeting with Ghomeshi at a party in December 2002 and that he had pulled her hair “hard” in an unprovoked nature while the two were later in his car, adding that it had “felt like a rage that wasn’t there a second before he did it.”
WATCH: Jian Ghomeshi complainant Linda Redgrave speaks out about the trial to Alan Carter
She also said she had gone to Ghomeshi’s home weeks later when he suddenly grabbed her hair again “really hard” and began “punching” her in the head multiple times with what felt like a “closed fist,” adding that her ears were ringing and she felt as though she was going to faint.
Redgrave’s testimony on two counts of sexual assault was ultimately discounted by Justice William B. Horkins, who said in his judgment that he had found several inconsistencies and areas of concern with her statements to police, media and the court.
“Under cross-examination, the value of her evidence suffered irreparable damage. Defence counsel’s questioning revealed inconsistencies, and incongruous and deceptive conduct,” Horkins said of Redrave’s testimony.
Despite this, Redgrave told Global News Monday that she does not regret her decision to testify against Ghomeshi, adding that she was fearful for her safety when the scandal first broke which is why she agreed to conceal her identity.
“I had always thought that I wanted to come forward, I didn’t actually want to hide but in the very beginning when I first came to the media, there were a lot of haters and I was afraid,” she said.
WATCH: Jian Ghomeshi complainant explains why she’s revealing her identity, speaking out
“I knew that at some point I would. And as time went on, I realized that it was more support for my side and I felt more comfortable with it and knew that it was something that I needed to do.
“I don’t regret coming forward, it was just really hard. It was very difficult, but I would do it again.”
Redgrave said the most difficult part about testifying was not being able to clarify aspects of her testimony during cross-examination, or have someone there representing her and speaking on her behalf.
“I was just alone,” she said. “I was a layperson speaking on the stand with a 25-year seasoned professional, being attacked and I couldn’t really get my story across properly.”
One of the aspects of her testimony she wished she could have clarified was in relation to the flirtatious “bait” email she had sent Ghomeshi, with a photo of herself in a string bikini attached.
“This is not an email that she could have simply forgotten about,” Horkins said in his decision. “It reveals conduct completely inconsistent with her assertion that the mere thought of Mr. Ghomeshi traumatized her.”
For her part, Redgrave thinks the photo was taken completely out of context.
“The judge seemed to succumb to ‘group thinking,’ where ‘this’ equals ‘that,'” she said. “But when you’re talking about women and abuse, it’s not uncommon. It’s not uncommon for a woman to want to try to fix something, or get answers or really know more about what went on. It’s not uncommon at all, so my odd behaviour wasn’t.”
Redgrave added that the reason she didn’t come forward with the photo initially in her statements to police and testimony was because she didn’t remember sending it.
“I wasn’t sure, and actually the memory came later. It was because he didn’t respond so it wasn’t that there was something in that memory to remember, it was me putting something out there that nothing came back,” she said, adding that she didn’t believe the photo pointed to a credibility issue with her as a witness.
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Redgrave also said that despite allegations of collusion between the other two complainants, Trailer Park Boys actress Lucy DeCoutere and another woman whose identity is protected under publication ban, she doesn’t believe collusion occurred nor wish her trial had been heard separately.
“They were two people that found each other in this big trial and they were talking. I don’t think that they were saying anything that most people don’t say to their own girlfriends,” Redgrave said.
“It’s just that came out in a way that looked like they were colluding. I believe both of them 100 per cent, because I’ve been through it and I understand. But I understand it looks the way it looks to others.”
Redgrave said she fought to have the publication ban on her identity lifted because of a website she has launched to assist women who are going through a trial with information, forums and help them with their legal battles.
“I would say the best thing you could do is try to get some legal counsel before you make your statement,” she said. “Because when you go to the police station right now their policies and procedures and protocols are all over the place and they don’t give you all the information.”
Redgrave added that she wishes she was more clear in her initial statement to police because she thought it was just a “green light for an investigation” and not something that would be used in court against her.
“If I were to do it again, I would be getting legal advice first and then take my statement forward,” she said. “Because from what I know now, and that being my statement in court, I’d want it to be exactly what I needed it to say.”
Redgrave said that Ghomeshi being found innocent of all charges in the case was the wrong decision for Horkins to make, but added that “given the system, that’s the only verdict they could have given.”
“It’s flawed. It’s not broken, it was built that way, but it needs to be changed for sexual assault,” she said.
“There needs to be a different arena for this. There needs to be a different platform, a different everything. It’s not the way to do it.”
Now that Ghomeshi has been cleared of four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcome resistance by choking, Redgrave wants to make sure these allegations never surface again.
“I just hope that he doesn’t hurt somebody really badly in the future,” she said. “I’m hoping that I have given people something to think about, so buyer beware if anyone does choose to go out with him. Just know what you’re up against.”
Ghomeshi will face a second trial on June 6 on a separate charge of sexual assault, which arose from an alleged incident in January 2008 while he was the host of CBC’s flagship radio show Q.
Redgrave said that if she could change the judicial system for alleged victims of sexual assault, she would first want complainants to be given all of the information necessary by police initially, in order to pursue charges.
“From walking into the police station I didn’t have that. And I don’t blame the police, it’s just not enforced,” she said. “Jian Ghomeshi got read his rights, I didn’t get read mine. So I didn’t know them.”
Secondly, Redgrave said that she would like to see a change to the way alleged victims of sexual assault are tried in Canadian courtrooms.
“They shouldn’t be tried in this format. It’s wrong. It’s a lose-lose,” she said. “A layperson against a lawyer, that’s all it is and I can’t clarify anything; nobody’s talking for me, nobody’s standing up for me.”
Redgrave said that moving forward she hopes to expand on her website and her cause, but never thought she’d be an activist for change.
“I had no clue and I just knew early on that this is barbaric and I couldn’t leave it. I knew from the very beginning the small things were huge things and that people like me don’t stand a chance,” she said.
“So it’s my life’s work now. So before I die, if I can make any change to the system I’ll be happy.”