Disgraced radio star Jian Ghomeshi was released on bail after a brief court appearance Wednesday afternoon, following his arrest earlier in the day on charges of sexual assault.
Bail was set at $100,000. Conditions of his release include that he reside with his mother, have no contact with any of the three complainants in the case, and that he not leave Ontario. He surrendered his passport Wednesday morning after turning himself in to police.
As crown attorney Michael Callaghan read out the allegations against him, Ghomeshi sat expressionless in the prisoner’s box in the College Park courtroom, looking straight ahead and blinking rapidly. Although dressed sharply in a dark suit and white shirt, he looked tired and had dark bags under his eyes. He spoke only twice, responding “I do” when Justice Rebecca Rutherford asked if he understood the bail conditions.
Ghomeshi is facing four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcome resistance – choking. The details of the allegations, made by three alleged victims, are under a publication ban.
As he exited the court building Ghomeshi was met with an intense crush of media and onlookers. He was heckled by some people in the crowd, who shouted “animal!” and “go back to Iran!” (Ghomeshi was born in England to Iranian parents.)
Ghomeshi and his lawyer Marie Henein paused at the top of the courthouse stairs to be photographed and for Henein to make a brief statement.
“It’s not my practice to litigate my cases in the media,” she said, standing shoulder to shoulder with Ghomeshi. “We will say whatever we have to say in a court of law. We will not be making any further media statements, nor will Mr. Ghomeshi.”
Henein said her client would be pleading not guilty. Police then escorted Ghomeshi and his lawyers to a waiting black SUV, which drove south on Yonge Street trailed by a media helicopter.
Ghomeshi’s arrest came a month to the day that the CBC announced his dismissal from the broadcaster, and marks a stunningly rapid fall from grace for the national celebrity.
Rumours about his disturbing treatment of women had been circulating since the 47-year-old was in university but it wasn’t until the Toronto Star and freelance journalist Jesse Brown launched a joint investigation that his alleged crimes began to be discussed by CBC management. He was fired on October 26.
Initial media reports detailed allegations by three woman but subsequent coverage has prompted nine women to come forward alleging he assaulted or harassed them in incidents that stretch back over a decade. The allegations against him, which have not been proven in court, have prompted a public discussion about privilege and violence against women.
Ghomeshi will be back in court on January 8.
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