Whoa, Toronto


The Canadians have arrested Jian Ghomeshi on four counts of sexual assault. That was quick.

Meanwhile, in the USA, Bill Cosby had reruns of his old show cancelled. We are TOUGH ON CRIME.

Comments

  1. Thomathy, Such A 'Mo says

    Good. It took a while though. I wonder if the police were trying to determine if charges could be laid or for people to make chargeable accusations or if the Crown was waiting for something to be found that could support prosecution?

    I suppose after the hearing we’ll know all about who the accusers are and if the Crown is prosecuting the case or not.

  2. Thomathy, Such A 'Mo says

    janiceintoronto, at least we actually try our police before we let them walk free, amiright?

    /snark

    Sorry. We really shouldn’t feel smug about this and the irony actually doesn’t exist, twas brillig.

  3. Thomathy, Such A 'Mo says

    Thanks, Ibis, and yes, that’s what I meant. Not that I desperately want to know. That part doesn’t matter, so long as this asshole gets his trial. I’ve never been clear on how these things progress.

  4. AlexanderZ says

    Ibis3 #10

    Ghomeshi is being released on $100,000 bail.

    Well. That was quick. Is that considered a high or low bail amount for these kind of offenses?

  5. Kaintukee Bob says

    PZ, it’s only a crime when a criminal does it! Obviously Cosby isn’t a criminal, so he can’t go to court!

    He’s rich, he established himself as a Non-Threatening Black Man, and his TV show let Republicans claim they enjoy ‘Urban Entertainment’. He’s untouchable, a veritable paragon of virtue!

  6. Thomathy, Such A 'Mo says

    AlexanderZ, I believe bail is set as a reflection of the likelihood to flee as well as the type of offense. I don’t think there’s anything abnormal in the amount set for Ghomeshi’s bail. Granting bail isn’t often considered controversial here, AFAIK.
    _____

    Thanks for the update, Ibis. This is moving so fast that the news isn’t keeping up right to the minute.

    Do we know if the publication ban was requested by Ghomeshi’s counsel?

  7. Geral says

    According to Google, there is no statute of limitations for this so he could be charged for those crimes at any time. In the USA, Cosby is let off free because they occurred (allegedly, of course) several decades ago. Shame.

  8. Jeff K says

    The only way to hurt the rich in a system stacked against the average joe, hit ’em in the pocketbook. We really need to fix that corporations are people BS, but the only way I see that flying is if the Megacorps piss off the religious conservatives.

  9. brett says

    Different statute of limitations, maybe? That’s the problem with Cosby – many of the crimes happened long enough ago that the state of limitations has run out, and it’s too late to file a civil suit. Maybe not that one that happened in 2003-2004 though.

  10. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    My understanding is that Canada has no statue of limitations under the Criminal Code, for any offence, whether summary or indictable.

  11. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    Sorry, correction, there’s a statute of limitations for summary offences – 6 months.
    Indictable offences have no statute of limitations.

  12. sirbedevere says

    Don’t know if it was mentioned here and I just missed it but it also appears he dropped his lawsuit:

    “The arrest comes days after the announcement that Ghomeshi was dropping his C$55m lawsuit against his former employer, the Canadian Broadcasting Company, leaving him to pay C$18,000 in legal fees. He has reportedly filed a grievance through his union, the Canadian Media Guild.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/26/jian-ghomeshi-charged-sexual-assault-canada

  13. F.O. says

    Well, at least people arguing that he was “fired because BSDM” will finally shut up. Maybe.

  14. Thomathy, Such A 'Mo says

    I do love how he’s dropped his lawsuit. But that has me wondering if he wasn’t somehow made aware that charges were pending?
    _____
    F.O., no I doubt it will.
    _____
    Ibis, thanks.

  15. numerobis says

    In Canada, sex crimes pretty much always have publication bans. Similarly crimes involving minors. We’ve staked out a different spot on the spectrum between freedom of the press / privacy of the victims and accused.

    This is not uncontroversial, of course.

  16. methuseus says

    @1 janiceintoronto

    Ghomeshi is of Iranian descent, so not exactly white. Bill Cosby is definitely not white. The cop in Missou was definitely white. There may be a pattern here… I know I’m not the first to point it out.

  17. says

    @Giliell

    I’d suspect that would be Ghomeshi himself. His mother was in the courtroom, presumably to pledge her acceptance of the arrangement. I feel very sorry for her. Imagine thinking of your son as a charming and progressive feminist man who has reached the pinnacle of success in his chosen field and is beloved by the whole country and then finding out he’s really a violent asshole who likes to sexually assault women and bully his colleagues. It must be a devastating heartbreak.

  18. Intaglio says

    Good for Canada

    Here’s hoping the USA pulls its finger out at some point and tries justice rather than expediency …

    Mind you the same thing could be said of many countries including my own.

  19. sigurd jorsalfar says

    AlexanderZ #11

    Ibis3 #10

    Ghomeshi is being released on $100,000 bail.

    Well. That was quick. Is that considered a high or low bail amount for these kind of offenses?

    There are no bail bonds in Canada. So $100,000 bail in Canada is roughly equal to $1,000,000 bail in the US where you can get a bond by posting 10% of the value of the bond.

  20. says

    We also have a police officer being tried for 2nd degree manslaughter for shooting a non-threating individual from at least 10 metres away. The victim was standing at the open doorway of an abandoned streetcar posing no immediate threat to anyone. Very bad for the cop. It was all caught clearly on video.

  21. AlexanderZ says

    sigurd jorsalfar #31
    Thanks for the extra info.

    methuseus #27

    Ghomeshi is of Iranian descent, so not exactly white. Bill Cosby is definitely not white. The cop in Missou was definitely white. There may be a pattern here… I know I’m not the first to point it out.

    I’m afraid I don’t quite understand. Could you please explain your point? To what pattern are you referring?

  22. frankb says

    #34

    I’m afraid I don’t quite understand. Could you please explain your point? To what pattern are you referring?

    So you don’t get the point? Let me explain. Ghomeshi is a media personality and well liked. Cosby is extremely famous and popular. But they are not exactly white. Ghomeshi has been arrested for sexual assault and Cosby is having his shows cancelled with more reprocusions in the offing. Wilson is a white who killed a black in front of witnesses, yet he is walking and many people are sending him money and he got an interview on Good Morning America this morning. Non-whites in trouble for rape and white murderer being celebrated. Does that help you out Alexander?

  23. Holms says

    Meanwhile, in the USA, Bill Cosby had reruns of his old show cancelled. We are TOUGH ON CRIME.

    Mildly reducing the income of an already-famous millionaire with no other restriction of his freedoms? FUKKEN FEMINAZIS AMIRITE!

    /stupid

  24. says

    Well. That was quick. Is that considered a high or low bail amount for these kind of offenses?

    The amount of the bail deposit is a factor of the circumstances of the offence as well as the accused’s flight risk and financial situation, so it is hard to make “apples to apples” comparisons.

    Not sure if anyone had to request a publication ban—that’s pretty much SOP as far as I’m aware (especially at this pre-trial stage).

    Standard, but not strictly required. Apparently two of the victims requested the bans for their names, and a Ghomeshi requested the ban for third victim.

  25. iankoro says

    #35 FrankB

    I think it’s a bit odd to act like Cosby is facing repercussions for his actions because of his race. Cosby was a huge star *for years.* The accusations have been around since at least 2000. They even got media attention at times, but Cosby has been able to just shrug them off. It’s not common, but it is possible to be able to escape some aspects of racial bias. Cosby may have been black, but he represented something very wholesome that appealed to white America.

    Cosby is a celebrity of enormous caliber. How many other celebrities could there really be at his level, and with that kind of image, that are serial rapists? I’m not saying they aren’t out there, but somehow I doubt there’s enough that it’s reasonable to think that Cosby was singled out because he was black… and the fact that the allegations were all but ignored until public attention was pointed in his direction by recent events, and Hannibal Buress’ stand up act.

    The same really goes for Ghomeshi. I wouldn’t say he’s at the same caliber as Cosby, but in most circles in Canada, he’s a huge name. I think his ethnicity is probably treated differently in Canada than it might have been in the US. He’s a child of immigrant parents who espoused liberal values his whole life, was heavily (and in retrospect, creepily) involved in groups advocating for women’s issues. He was in a popular group that played humorous, but intellectually appealing songs. He then took over what has been the CBC’s flagship timeslot for decades. He was like the quintessential Canadian. The reason he was brought down was due to an investigation sparked by *tons* of rumors, and the initial public reaction was to take his word for it. There were a number of Canadian progressives who found themselves backpeddling in the days shortly after the scandal broke. This is another case where it’s astonishing how long it took for the story to break. It’s hard to imagine that had he been white, he could have been coddled *even more*. Especially when you understand the circumstances of how the story broke.

    Jesse Brown, the independent journalist who started the investigation (which Ghomeshi knew was happening) mentioned on his podcast that he had an explosive story that was going to break soon (which happened to be a completely unrelated story). In reality, the Ghomeshi story was nowhere near ready to run. They didn’t have anything in the way of solid sources about anything really serious. Ghomeshi, believing he was about to be exposed, went to the CBC, showed them his “evidence that it was all consensual” (or, video tapes of him beating women), and he was promptly fired. It could have ended there, as the CBC gave him the option of saying he quit for personal reasons.

    Instead, Ghomeshi decided to get ahead of “the story” by posting his thing on facebook where he accuses the CBC of firing him for BDSM. This suddenly make Brown and The Star’s story newsworthy, and led to all sorts of women (and one man) coming forward with accusations of sexual assault against Ghomeshi.

    Basically, I’m not saying race isn’t involved. It’s always involved one way or another, but I think the idea that it was a serious factor in Ghomeshi and Cosby being made public isn’t really looking that hard at the stories. I think the biggest factor is the severity of their crimes. These are both people with such intense celebrity it that put them at levels of privilege even higher than those of plenty of white celebrities.

  26. AlexanderZ says

    frankb #35

    Does that help you out Alexander?

    Yes, it does. I was afraid you were arguing for the opposite point.

    Anyway, Cosby isn’t being punished at all (I’m sure that multimillionaire is crying bitter tears over his reruns /sarcasm) and it’s not like US doesn’t have advocates for black men when they assault women – see the NFL for multiple examples of that. Maybe Canadian culture and law enforcement are different, I don’t know enough about it to say. However it’s more likely that Ghomeshi was arrested because he wasn’t popular with the right crowd – many of his former fans weren’t ones to stand for assaulting women. Maybe if he was working for a conservative channel it wouldn’t have gotten to the police.

    Either way there isn’t a trend here. As much as I’m glad that Ghomeshi may be facing justice, it’s not like there aren’t many many more like him that will never be punished, whatever their color, nationality or social status might be.

  27. tulse says

    The amount of the bail deposit is a factor of the circumstances of the offence as well as the accused’s flight risk

    And to add some specific detail, as part of the bail Ghomeshi had to relinquish his passport, and pledge to stay in Ontario.

  28. aiabx says

    A friend of mine who has worked for many years as a court-mandated counsellor for men accused of violence against women tells me an interesting thing:
    Under Canadian law, you cannot consent to being assaulted. So even if his victims had consented to being slapped, punched or choked, that does him no good in the eyes of the law.
    I’m also hearing through the grapevine that for this reason, among others, his lawsuit against the CBC was dead before the ink was dry. The CBC’s chief counsel had him “boxed, wrapped and ribboned” on day 1.

  29. municipalis says

    aiabx

    Under Canadian law, you cannot consent to being assaulted. So even if his victims had consented to being slapped, punched or choked, that does him no good in the eyes of the law.

    Not exactly. You cannot consent to bodily harm, and assault causing bodily harm is the ‘upgraded’ charge to standard assault. The case which dealt with it is R v Jobidon, where a drunken fistfight led to a guy dying; the defence argued that the fistfight was consensual. The court interpreted the ‘consent’ defence of the law as not applying to stupid shit like fist fights.

    The issue is that the definition of bodily harm has not been consistently interpreted. There have been questions raised as to whether even fully-consensual BDSM practices would be criminal.

    I’m also hearing through the grapevine that for this reason, among others, his lawsuit against the CBC was dead before the ink was dry. The CBC’s chief counsel had him “boxed, wrapped and ribboned” on day 1.

    Yeah, most people in the legal community thought his suit was just a ploy. Legal pleadings are privileged, so the intent seems to have been to allow him to frame the narrative, without facing any consequences for the fact that what was said in it was complete bullshit. I honestly think his lawyers – if they were at all aware that that was the intent – crossed an ethical boundary. His suit was an abuse of the legal system. Thankfully, it didn’t work.

  30. sigurd jorsalfar says

    R v Jobidon definitely doesn’t stand for the proposition that you can’t consent to an assault in Canada. But I doubt it stands for the proposition that one can’t consent to bodily harm either. The court specifically referred to rough sporting activities in which people consent to participate and get injured as not being criminal. The key, to me, seems to be where Sopinka J. says that the ‘scope’ of the consent must be considered.

    In Jobidon there was a consensual fist fight, but the victim was basically knocked unconscious after one or two punches, whereupon the accused continued to beat him in the head and he died later in hospital. Jobidon stands for the proposition that a person doesn’t consent to have the shit beat out of him while unconscious, even though he consented to the initial fight. The consent ended when he was knocked unconscious and became deprived of the ability to terminate his consent. The court might have acquitted Jobidon if, say, he had killed the victim on the first punch.

  31. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    The police took these stories seriously, once they hit the Toronto Star, and asked if the women would come forward to be interviewed and see whether charges should be laid.

    Ghomeshi has been charged with four counts of sexual assault, which is not a trivial crime. It includes rape while avoiding nit-picking arguments about what is “real rape”. It is also significant that he has also been charged with choking, which carries a penalty up to life in prison. This is a sign that the Crown is serious about the crimes that he has been charged with.

    I do not think that his Iranian ancestry counted against him; Toronto is a city of immigrants where more than 50% of the population was born elsewhere. With Sydney, Australia, it is one of the most multicultural cities in the world.

  32. sigurd jorsalfar says

    I dug up my old notes on R v. Jobidon, not having looked at this case in years. It seems Sopinka was in the minority and the majority of the court took a more hardline view that fist fighting in the street (this was a bar fight that ended up outside) has no redeeming social value so you can’t consent to it. Sports apparently have a redeeming social value, so they are different.

    I noted at the time that I didn’t find this reasoning very convincing and I preferred Sopinka’s approach as it seemed more principled to me. However the accused insisted in his evidence (and the trial judge may have found as a fact, I’m not sure) that he didn’t realize the victim was unconscious as he continued to beat him, so the majority might have felt they needed to get around that problem by creating this blanket rule so that they could convict the guy.

    The problem I have with it is it leaves open a grey area – does boxing, for instance, really have a socially redeeming value? what about MMA? or hockey fights? what about BDSM? I don’t think saying that the case stands for no consent to ‘serious’ bodily harm really cuts it either (although that’s what most people say the case stands for), because that raises the question of how can it be said that Jobidon realized what he was doing was causing ‘serious’ bodily harm but didn’t realize the victim was unconcious? Sopinka’s approach, on the other hand, fits better with what the criminal code actually says without depriving the word ‘consent’ of its plain and ordinary meaning (if Parliament wants to make street brawling a form of assault without consent as a defence then it is free to do so in plain language, which it does NOT do in s.265 of the Criminal Code) and covers sports or BDSM without having to get into the question of ‘redeeming social value’ and making . Sports which might have no redeeming social value still would get out from under the criminal liability because they have referees who stop the fight when one of the participants is unconscious, unable to defend himself or badly hurt and participants count on this to avoid getting killed or crippled. The majority ends up leaving open the question of whether you can validly consent to some other assault other than a bar fight or street fight, such as BDSM, whereas Sopinka’s approach makes it clear you can consent to it.

    Ultimately I think what the case truly stands for is that you can consent to an ‘assault’ in Canada (as s. 265 of the criminal code actually says) but you can’t consent to a bar fight or a street fight.

  33. frankb says

    Ah, I was fooled by Alexander’s snark. But the one point I’ll stick with is the way Wilson is being treated by a segment of our society. My day was ruined by seeing him on GMA. I saw that his face had healed up nicely.