Canadian celebrity radio host charged with sexual assault

Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:18pm EST
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By Andrea Hopkins

TORONTO (Reuters) - A celebrity radio host at the heart of one of Canada's biggest sex scandals was charged with sexual assault on Wednesday in a case that has grabbed headlines.

Jian Ghomeshi, 47, former host of the internationally syndicated music and arts program Q on Canadian Broadcasting Corp radio, appeared in court to answer four counts of sexual assault and one of choking.

His lawyer said Ghomeshi would plead not guilty to the charges.

Ghomeshi was fired in October after the CBC said it had seen graphic evidence that he had injured a woman in what he said were consensual acts of bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism in sex. Ghomeshi said at the time that he voluntarily showed the material to counter a pending newspaper article about him.

He was released on bail of C$100,000 ($88,645) after a brief court appearance in which he spoke only twice, to affirm he understood the charges and conditions of bail. Ghomeshi was ordered to surrender his passport, live with his mother in the city's north end and reappear in court on Jan. 8.

Surrounded by police, Ghomeshi inched through a crush of reporters outside the courthouse without speaking to anyone.

"Mr. Ghomeshi will be pleading not guilty. We will address these allegations fully, directly in a courtroom," Marie Henein, his lawyer, told reporters. "It is not my practice to litigate my cases in the media. This one will be no different."

The charges follow a month-long police investigation into allegations that Ghomeshi, a former folk-rock musician who is a household name in Canada, sexually assaulted women he was dating and assaulted or harassed several colleagues at the CBC.   Continued...

Canadian celebrity radio host Jian Ghomeshi leaves court after getting bail on multiple counts of sexual assault in Toronto November 26, 2014.  REUTERS/Peter Power