One of three women who accused Jian Ghomeshi of sexual assault outside his workplace says they were never given the option of seeking a peace bond instead of testifying during the radio celebrity’s sensational trial earlier this year.
“This wasn’t an avenue that we could pursue because it was never offered to us,” Lucy DeCoutere said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “I never knew that a peace bond was available.”
Ghomeshi signed a peace bond and publicly apologized Wednesday to former CBC colleague Kathryn Borel, who had accused him of sexually assaulting her at work in 2008, after the Crown withdrew related charges against him.
DeCoutere, a former “Trailer Park Boys” actress, said Crown lawyers spent very little time talking with her and the two other complainants before trial in February.
“It was quite clear that my preparation was limited,” she said. “There was no collaboration.”
DeCoutere said the peace bond process allowed Borel to avoid being subjected to the intense public scrutiny of a trial and a withering cross-examination by Ghomeshi’s lawyer, Marie Henein.
“The outcome was probably better this way, with (Ghomeshi) offering culpability, and her getting an avenue to say what happened without being manipulated by Marie Henein’s wordplay … Honestly, (Henein) is a solid study of the human psyche and she is adept at tearing people apart.”
In March, the former host of the CBC radio show “Q” was acquitted of sexual assault and choking charges related to the three original complainants, who alleged the incidents occurred in 2002 and 2003.
On Wednesday, Ghomeshi described his behaviour toward Borel as thoughtless, sexually inappropriate, demeaning and an abuse of his power as a famous star.
In Halifax, DeCoutere stressed that Ghomeshi’s apology did not shed any light on his conduct outside his workplace, and she said his expression of “deep regret and embarrassment” only related to one specific incident.
“However, if you read Ms. Borel’s statement, that one incident is surrounded by three years of …. inappropriate behaviour in a sexualized workplace environment,” she said.
“It doesn’t shed light on the earlier accusations because Jian has a team that helps him stay focused. It just shows that in this one case, he did something wrong and shows maybe a character flaw in this one direction. People can extrapolate that if they want.”
DeCoutere said the apology meant little to her.
“Frankly, apologies, for me, fall flat. I always want to know why somebody did something and I want a guarantee that it won’t happen again – and why did it happen in the first place.”