Mr. Justice Horkins reviewed the definition of “sexual assault” in the Criminal Code, and remarked that it covered a broad spectrum of offensive activity from uninvited sexual touching through to vaginal penetration. The Court acknowledged that based on the descriptions of events recounted by each witness, taken at face value, their circumstances fell within the broad definition of sexual assault.
The second complainant was Lucy DeCoutere, a sometime actress whose credits included episodes of the television series, “Trailer Park Boys”. She met Mr. Ghomeshi in 2003 at the Banff Film Festival. They hit it off and agreed to meet again later in Toronto. Ms. DeCoutere described an enjoyable dinner date that ended at Mr. Ghomeshi’s home. What happened next formed the basis for two charges against Mr. Ghomeshi.
After Mr. Ghomeshi showed Ms. DeCoutere around his pristine apartment he suddenly kissed her, pushed her against the wall, and with his hand around her throat, choked her and then slapped her. She said she was shocked but tried to pretend she was not alarmed or frightened. She stayed a while longer as he played his guitar and they listened to music…. and then he kissed her good night and she left.
They spent more time together that weekend and when she returned home to Halifax she sent him flowers, thanking him for being such a good host. She also sent him a handwritten “love letter” that read, “What on earth could be better than lying with you, listening to music and having peace?” She also said she wished they had spent the night together and that she “loved his hands”, an odd statement from a woman who had had been choked with those hands.
They connected next in June 2004, again at the Banff Film Festival and sang karaoke together, a duet of Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. Ms. DeCourtere said it was “hilarious”, but the irony did not escape the Court’s attention. She failed to mention to the police investigators that after the Banff Festival she sent a photograph to Ghomeshi of herself and him singing, with the caption” “Proof that you can’t live without me.”
Curiously, in her police interviews and in the 19 media interviews she did, she never mentioned that she and Ghomeshi had been kissing before and after the alleged assault. The first time she reported this was at the trial. She was adamant in her report to the police that she had no further relationship with Mr. Ghomeshi, admitting that she did see him in “passing” at industry events, but kept her distance.
But there was more… a lot more. Before travelling to Banff in 2004 she emailed Ghomeshi telling him she wanted to “play” with him in Banff and that perhaps they would have a “chance encounter in a broom closet”. Mr. Ghomeshi was decidedly non-committal, responding, “I’d love to hang but can’t promise much.” Ms. DeCoutere was insistent, writing that she would “beat the crap out of him” if they didn’t hang together in Banff.
Ms. DeCoutere only approached the police with her story after she heard that Mr. Ghomeshi had been fired from CBC, but it appeared she was more interested in publicity than justice. She engaged the services of a publicist and the hash tag “ibelievelucy” became very popular, even attracting the attention of actress Mia Farrow. She confided in a friend saying, the trial was going to be “theatre at its best”…”Dude, with my background I literally feel like I was prepped to take this on, no shit”….”this does not freak me out. I invite the media shit.”
She also engaged in a flurry of email traffic with another of the complainants, expressing strong disdain and animosity for Mr. Ghomeshi, stating that she wanted to see him “f______’ decimated and that it was time to “flush him”.
Her deception and suppression of evidence under oath concerned the trial judge who opined, “It is difficult to have trust in a witness who engages in the selective withholding of relevant information.”
Ms. DeCoutere clearly did not expect that 13 years later, Mr. Ghomeshi would produce the “love letter” she wrote him after the allegedly violent encounter of 2003. Part 3 of the Ghomeshi Verdict will review the evidence of the third victim, while Part 4 will explore why Mr. Ghomeshi retained letters and emails from a dozen or more women who were captivated by his charm…and celebrity.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang