Former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi
Courts slam witnesses for lying, but one group gets a pass.
by Donald Best, former Sergeant, Detective, Toronto Police
The reality in criminal courts is, like it or not, that if a major witness is exposed lying, fabricating evidence, grossly exaggerating or in any way modifying their evidence to better ensure a conviction, then the charges against the accused will likely be dismissed.
Jian Ghomeshi, the former CBC Radio host, was found not guilty on four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance in connection with allegations made by three women. The judge overseeing the case, Ontario Court Justice William Horkins, said about the witnesses, “The act of suppression of the truth will be as damaging to their credibility as a direct lie under oath.”
Each of the three witnesses did not tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but truth, therefore the judge tossed the charges.
Justice Horkins came down hard on the witnesses, going as far as to criticize the three complainants for their “willingness to ignore their oath to tell the truth on more than one occasion.” (Globe & Mail: Truth and deception: Ghomeshi verdict a good day for justice)
The judge found that the witnesses were on a mission to bring Mr. Ghomeshi down. In one of the thousands of e-mails Ms. DeCoutere exchanged with S.D, she said she wanted to see Ghomeshi “decimated.” Add the fact that each of the witnesses was caught lying to the court and you open the door for charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice and commit perjury. Those charges will not happen because the public would be outraged, but perjury is perjury even if the witness was sexually assaulted and is truly a victim.
Ghomsehi was a trial very much in the public eye, so everything had to be done according to the law as best as the judge could. Public interest and press scrutiny really do assist to keep judges on the straight and narrow.
Justice Horkins did what had to be done in the Jian Ghomeshi case. He followed the rule of law and ignored the political, public and other influences.
Double Standard when it comes to lying to the court
The judge’s action in Ghomeshi highlights a double standard in the justice system; the courts always condemn witnesses for lying – but regularly look the other way when lawyers lie to the judge and knowingly place false evidence into the court record.
Even when irrefutable evidence proves that lawyers fabricated evidence and lied to the court, the rules about perjury and obstruction of justice go by the wayside as the legal profession and the courts do everything possible to save fellow members of ‘The Club’ – even if it means sending an innocent man to jail.
Superior Court Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy
In my case, Justice J. Bryan Shaughnessy convicted me in absentia (I was not present) of ‘contempt of civil court’ and sentenced me to three months in jail; during a hearing I was unaware of.
I was in Asia at the time when opposing lawyers rushed through a civil costs hearing over the Christmas season. At that hearing, lawyers Gerald Rankin and Lorne Silver lied to Justice Shaughnessy and knowingly placed false evidence into the court record.
The lawyers falsely told the judge in a written ‘Statement for the Record’ and also orally in court that, during a phone call with the lawyers, I told them that I had received a copy of a certain court order. In fact, during that phone call I told the lawyers over twelve times that I had not received the court order and would they please send it to me.
Later, when confronted with my letter to the judge accusing them of lying to the court and fabricating evidence, Mr. Ranking (Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP) and Mr. Silver (Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP) doubled down on their corrupt activities and assured Justice Shaughnessy that their version of the events was true, that they categorically rejected my version and that I was therefore lying.
What Ranking and Silver did not know was that I had secretly recorded the phone call. Read more