Canada Ghomeshi accuser urges training for judges

20:51  15 may  2017
20:51  15 may  2017 Source:

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The judge presiding over the Jian Ghomeshi sex assault trial said he will render a verdict next month. Justice William Horkins said court will reconvene on March 24 after both the Crown and the defence wrapped up their closing arguments Thursday.

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OTTAWA - Judges need to better understand the impact that trauma can have on the memory and behaviour of someone who has experienced sexual assault, says one of the women at the centre of last year's high-profile trial of Jian Ghomeshi.

Linda Redgrave, whose identity was protected by a publication ban before she asked for it to be lifted, was among those who accused the former CBC personality of sexual assault before his dramatic and controversial acquittal in March 2016.

Redgrave is backing legislation introduced by Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose that would, if passed, require anyone hoping to be considered for the bench to undergo comprehensive training in sexual assault law.

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TORONTO. In the midst of it, a colleague whispered, “This is a bloodbath.”. And so it was. Word to the wise: Don’t send your alleged abuser a photo of yourself in a string bikini. Or if you do, for goodness sake, tell the police and the prosecutor about it before you take the stand.

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"Unless there is some kind of judicial training in place, then we don't have fair access to justice," said Redgrave, who founded a non-profit organization called Coming Forward to help support victims of sexual assault navigate the justice system.

"We're getting what we're getting.... It's luck of the draw."

In acquitting Ghomeshi, Ontario Court Justice William Horkins said he was unable to rely on Redgrave's testimony, describing her version of events as "shifting" and her behaviour as "odd."

"The expectation of how a victim of abuse will, or should, be expected to behave must not be assessed on the basis of stereotypical models," Horkins wrote in his ruling.

"Having said that, I have no hesitation in saying that the behaviour of this complainant is, at the very least, odd. The factual inconsistencies in her evidence cause me to approach her evidence with great skepticism."

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It's the Crown's job to educate the judge , and they failed in the Ghomeshi case. Time to mobilize like we did 50 years ago to train people in power to believe women. The judge could have simply believed Ghomeshi 's accusers .

Horkins also noted all he had to go on was the credibility of the complainants, which is not unusual in matters involving sexual assault.

  Ghomeshi accuser urges training for judges © Provided by

Horkins declined to comment, but a spokeswoman for the Ontario Court of Justice says all its judges are given education in "social awareness," including on issues related to gender-based violence and sexual assault.

Redgrave said better and more consistent training could change the way judges determine the credibility of a sexual assault complainant.

She said it could also help encourage more victims to turn to the courts.

The Ghomeshi trial and ruling, both of which prompted an emotional debate about how abuse complainants are treated by the justice system, likely did the opposite, she added.

"I think it sent a message loud and clear to tell people that if you try to come forward, your credibility is going to be taken down."

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Ghomeshi accuser supports judge training bill. CTV News - 15 May 2017 OTTAWA -- A bill to provide sexual assault training for new federally appointed judges is drawing support from one of the women who testified against former radio host Jian Ghomeshi .

The Crown and the woman’s lawyer argued vehemently against any release of the photo.

In a written brief to the House of Commons committee that studied the proposed legislation, also known as Bill C-337, Redgrave and Toronto lawyer Helgi Maki argued the training for judges should include learning about "the neurobiological impact of trauma," as well as how to conduct a trial in a way that understands this impact.

Drawing on the work of Lori Haskell, a Toronto clinical psychologist who specializes in trauma, Redgrave and Maki wrote that victims of sexual assault can find themselves feeling frozen and unable to fight back, have trouble making decisions, show no emotional expression after an assault takes place and experience memory loss.

"If trauma-informed educational resources were made more widely available through judicial training, survivors could have more assurance that the trial process is likely to include awareness of the experience of sexual trauma enabling them to participate more effectively in the legal process," they wrote.

Bill C-337 would also require the Canadian Judicial Council to report on continuing education courses in matters related to sexual assault law and change the Criminal Code to make courts provide either recorded or written decisions in sexual assault cases.

The bill is back before the Commons after minor changes were made by the Commons status of women committee. New Democrats want the Liberals and Conservatives to agree to fast-track the bill so that it comes back up for third reading this week.

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