Guilty until proven innocent: Jian Ghomeshi

Day 2 of the Jian Ghomeshi sexual assault trial. Do I think he is innocent? Nope. Do I think he will be found guilty? Nope. Does that bother me? A bit, but the alternatives bother me more.

Similar to the Bill Cosby scandal – public opinion has condemned Jian Ghomeshi as guilty. The sheer number of stories and supporting journalism definitely points to him having done some uncool stuff, more than once. As a woman, there is an unfortunate feeling of dread and recognition when reading up on the alleged victims’ accounts of Ghomeshi’s stunts. The stories feel true. If I had to bet, he definitely crossed the line over into the realm of sexual assault a few times. CBC’s behaviour definitely supports that hypothesis – they wouldn’t have done all they did if there didn’t exist a serious problem at the organisation. So. Jian Ghomeshi is presumed guilty. I want him to be found guilty, and serve as an example to all the other creeps out there that frequently assault women. I really really want this. I want him to be the martyr for this cause.

There is a pervasive problem of women in Canada not reporting sexual assault. It has been documented extensively, reliably and repeatedly.

Shocking infographic #1:

Specifically, of the few sexual assault cases that are reported and go to trial, few result in convictions. This feels like a failure in justice.

Shocking infographic #2:

Yet, the fundamental reason for the lack of convictions is the very basis of our criminal law system in Canada:

We all know the standard in criminal law is very high. Every accused person is presumed innocent, a presumption that can only be displaced by unambiguous evidence that proves the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. The onus is on the victim (via the Crown) to provide that evidence.

In the absence of corroboration, this system itself essentially dictates the near impossibility of conviction in a simple he-said, she-said situation.


I am ok with that. I support that – rationally. I believe that the tenet of “innocent until proven guilty” is one of the best aspects of our society, and one that must be protected. Therefore, when I stop listening to my emotions that scream “condemn that little fucker!”, and look at all that has been written about the case, and it’s similarities with Bill Cosby, I am aware that there is a high likelihood that Jian Ghomeshi will not be found guilty, because the prosecution will not be able to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. That is fair.

But at the same time… sexual assault is a real thing. One that goes unpunished, yet wrecks (mostly) women’s lives.

What to do?




P.S. in the interests of almost being unbiased, here is the only article I found online which claims our judicial system is just fine thankyouverymuch. Written by a lawyer. Well then, no problem afterall, phew! Canada, world’s 2nd-best place to live! We rock.



  1. I think he is a douche and if he did rape or harm women then he should be strung up by his buster browns, as for Canada’s legal system…. the actual fact is… you are presumed Guilty , until proven innocent beyond a shadow of doubt … we have a very skewed justice system here in Canada


  2. When I see the numbers for sexual assaults, I’m always stunned and saddened. I just don’t get, at a very basic level, how someone can do that to another person, then I realize it happens on a massive scale and it’s just overwhelming.

    As a guy who doesn’t even need to hear “no” to back off, I just don’t get it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Quebec law is unique in Canada because Quebec is the only province in Canada to have a juridical legal system (pertaining to the administration of justice) under which civil matters are regulated by French-heritage civil law. Public law, criminal law and other federal law operate according to Canadian common law.

    Presumption of innocence is actually part of our Charter of Rights.

    Personally, I think law enforcement offices need to form special brigades of female investigators to pursue rape and sexual abuse and assault cases. It would certainly help with promoting empathy towards victims during the investigation and make it easier for victims to speak up and report it in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Lack of resources is definitely a factor. Further, there is a lot of misogyny within some precincts. One of my friends is a criminal prosecutor and he once confided to me there is a veritable musical chairs of sexual harassment in many police forces. So for example, one officer will sexually harass a female officer (or citizen), leading to a complaint up the chain. If it becomes problematic or the higher rank officials fear it will become too public, they will arrange to have the officer transferred to another precinct rather than have to deal with the union and disciplining the offending officer.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. These women didn’t say “no” and they came back for more – I think it is a real insult to true sexual assault victims.


    1. I think it is more complicated than that. If you are referring to Lucy Couturere’s emails, I don’t view them as conclusive evidence that sexual assault didn’t take place.

      I think her lawyer sums it up nicely:

      It’s tricky and full of grey zones, and sexual assault is brutal to try prove. Which is WHY if he gets let go bc it couldn’t get proven – that’s fair. Justice has to err on the side of caution when there is so much room for interpretation.


    2. Maybe he did hurt some women in the past but I don’t think it was the 2 we saw on the stand so far. Women lie too and the fact that they kept trying to contact him after they said these things happened makes it look a little bit like they are trying to get back at him for dumping them. Everyone deserves a fair trial! Just because someone accuses someone of something doesn’t make it true – people have their own agendas.


      1. Completely agree – and again, without conclusive proof, he should not be found guilty: that would be a bigger failure of justice than the opposite. I do think he will not be convicted.

        I also think the dialogue is worth having.

        But I also think he is slimey. Maybe not an actual assaulter but oh-so-slimey.


  5. Sexual assult and rape are the only crimes I know of, where it is fine to blame the victim on the stand. I think what a lot of people don’t get is you can have sex with a guy 500 times but on the 501 if you say no and he keeps going that is rape, it doesn’t matter how many times I have been back. Although I don’t know a lot of this particular case, here in the UK we are going through yew tree, basically a very famous present died, and then one woman came out and said she has been sexually abused by him, then another and another and it turns out there does seem to be an ongoing thing within the 1960’s BBC (a television programme) Jimmy Saville (the first guy) will always be considered guilty without the benefit of a trial because you can’t slander the dead, the others being arrested are going to have a tough time, a few have been innocent but its going to follow them around.

    Also one of the things I have found especially with news worthy trials it is often not based on guilty or not guily its based on the lawyers flare and how good he/she get his/her client to look and how bad he/she can get the victim to look

    Liked by 1 person

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