The Ghomeshi trial: Who’s who in the courtroom

The defence, the prosecution, the judge and the witnesses: A guide to the key participants in Jian Ghomeshi’s case.

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The defendant: Jian Ghomeshi

The 48-year-old former CBC radio host faces four sexual assault charges and one count of overcoming resistance by choking. He has pleaded not-guilty.

The complainants: Lucy DeCoutere and two more unnamed witnesses

The women who allege Ghomeshi assaulted them are witnesses in this case. DeCoutere’s testimony will be one of the most highly anticipated moments in the trial, especially since she was first to come forward with her story, using her face and name.

The judge: Justice William Horkins

Ghomeshi chose to have his case heard by a judge, not a jury, so his fate falls squarely in the hands of Ontario Court Justice Horkins. Called to the bar in 1980, Justice Horkins mostly practiced criminal law, as both defence and Crown counsel, until 1998 when he was appointed as a judge to the largest court in the country. Lawyers describe him as fair — experienced, smart and capable. He is also known as the kind of judge a defence team is glad to see, because he is focused on an issue’s root causes and shows compassion for both sides.

The defence: Marie Henein

Much attention will be paid to Ghomeshi’s defence attorney, Marie Henein (pictured above). Trumpeted by Toronto Life as the “smartest, toughest, most sought-after” defence lawyer in the city if not the country, she represented former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant when he was charged with criminal negligence and dangerous driving causing death (charges that were later withdrawn). Her cross-examinations have been likened to a machete chop; her treatment of the three complainants in Ghomeshi’s trial might seem ruthless.

The Crown: Michael Callaghan

Just promoted to full Crown counsel in June 2015, Michael Callaghan is among the most experienced prosecutors in the court, says criminal defence lawyer and former Crown, John Navarrete. “Mike is very well respected by the defence — smart guy, great litigator and I believe that’s why he’s been chosen” to argue the Ghomeshi case. “He’s going to know his way around a courtroom” and won’t get flustered by the intense media interest, says Navarrete. The Ghomeshi case will be the highest profile of his career.


Related: What to expect from the Ghomeshi trial next week