Jian Ghomeshi, a former radio host for Canadian broadcaster CBC, was found not guilty of all sexual assault charges Thursday.
The one-time radio star, who was terminated from his radio show gig after the assault allegations were publicized, was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking back in 2014 after three women filed complaints against him. Ghomeshi denied the charges, claiming that his sexual encounters with the women were all consensual.
After an eight-day trial, Justice William Horkins acquit Ghomeshi of the charges. The judge concluded that the three accusers’ stories were inconsistent, stating in his judgment, “The evidence of each complainant suffered not just from inconsistencies and questionable behavior, but was tainted by outright deception.”
He also confirmed the presence of reasonable doubt in the case. “At the end of this trial, a reasonable doubt exists because it is impossible to determine, with any acceptable degree of certainty or comfort, what is true and what is false,” Judge Horkins said.
The verdict in Ghomeshi’s trial, which attracted significant media attention, ignited a debate about the Canadian legal system’s perception of sexual assault victims.
The public responded to the verdict via Twitter, many voicing their support for the victims in the case with the hashtag #IBelieveSurvivors.
don't pretend it was ever #ghomeshi who was on trial here- it was the reputation of the women & the behaviour of women in these situations
— raina douris (@RahRahRaina) March 24, 2016
— Janet Mock ‼️VOTE‼️ (@janetmock) March 24, 2016
Imagine a world where we trusted survivors & believed their stories as much as we trust their abusers and believe theirs. #IBelieveSurvivors
— Sam H. Escobar (@myhairisblue) March 24, 2016
And you wonder why women do not come forward after abuse. #IBelieveSurvivors
— Lisa MacLeod (@MacLeodLisa) March 24, 2016