I Wish

Here are some of the things the judge said in his verdict at the Jian Ghomeshi sexual assault case:

“We must fight against the stereotype that all sexual assault complaints are truthful.”

That he had “no hesitation” in reaching his verdict.

That the testimony of the witnesses was “unreliable.”

Here are some of the things I wish he had said instead:

“Although the evidence of emails, texts, and letters sent to the defendant after the events in question was compelling in this case, the fact that you saved such correspondence for, in some cases, decades after apparently casual liasons does raise questions about your own awareness that consent was in question.”

“I understand that small details of traumatic events may not be recalled perfectly years after the fact. Credibility is hard to judge and I have done my best to look at the heart of the testimony and also corroborating facts in evidence, which unfortunately, after all this time, do not meet the legal burden of proof.”

“It is unfortunate that emails of support between the witnesses in this case could be construed, legally, as collusion. It is a sad truth of the legal system that in cases of sexual assault above all all others, the claimants require ongoing and early legal advice, perhaps more so than the defendant.”

“Although the burden of proof was not met in this case, there can be little doubt that the witnesses feel pain. I hope they find resolution, and I hope that this case causes both personal citizens and the legal system to reflect on the issue of consent and consider what changes can be made, to our behaviour and the law, to ensure that we move towards a future when these situations can be either prevented or prosecuted with clarity.”

8 thoughts on “I Wish

  1. lvsconsulting

    Yes – a bit of empathy and recognizing the failings of the entire process would have helped to support victims and future complainants. Sigh.

  2. This thing is so frustrating, isn’t it. When I think of all the people who have never even bothered coming forward…now they will probably feel even less inclined to do so. To say something. Sigh.

  3. Yes. This. There was so much good (or less bad) that could have been done here, even if there wasn’t enough to convict, even if there was “reasonable doubt”. You can’t convict a person on the basis of what “everyone knows”.

    Well said.

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