While former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi’s acquittal has sparked protests, many within the legal community are praising the decision, agreeing with the judge that the complainants’ credibility issues raised reasonable doubt in the case.
The case, said Ottawa-based criminal defence lawyer Michael Spratt, was determined on the credibility and reliability of the witnesses.
“There were no smoking guns, as the judge said, there were no corroborating witness, no DNA evidence, and as the judge rightly noted, that’s not required. But what is required is to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a very high standard, that the witnesses were telling the truth.
“Given the deficiencies in their evidence, the judge pointed out that very high standard obviously wasn’t met.”
Spratt said the judge was clear that an inconsistency, or lack of memory, or something that may seem unusual to an outside observer like contact with the accused, isn’t necessarily enough to raise doubt, and that there can still be convictions when those pieces of evidence exist.
What was rightly called out by the judge, he said, was the lack of disclosure, the reluctance to disclose and explain the inconsistencies and illogical pieces of the evidence.
“That was problematic, not the inconsistencies themselves”
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