Ghomeshi acquittal sparks protests outside courthouse, online
Dario Balca, CTV Toronto
Published Thursday, March 24, 2016 5:00PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 6, 2016 11:43AM EDT
Dozens of protesters gathered outside Old City Hall on Thursday to express their outrage after a judge acquitted Jian Ghomeshi of all charges in his high-profile sexual assault trial.
The protesters carried signs with messages of support on them such as “We believe survivors” and “Stop victim blaming.”
A topless woman rushed into the middle of a media scrum with Crown attorney Michael Callaghan with the words “Women declare Ghomeshi guilty” written on her back. She was quickly arrested by police.
On Thursday, the former CBC Radio host was found not guilty of four counts of sexual assault and one count overcoming resistance by choking.
Justice William Horkins questioned the credibility of the three witnesses who originally came forward with the allegations and accused them of “deliberately” withholding important information from the court.
But those who gathered to protest the verdict argued the witnesses’ performance on the stand should not have been the deciding factor in the trial.
The protesters outside the courthouse were joined by thousands of others online who expressed their solidarity using the hashtag #IBelieveSurvivors.
Protesters have also planned a march starting at Old City Hall at 5:30 on Thursday.
Assault is never the victim's fault. Sickened that the bravery of these women was punished. This needs to stop. #IBelieveSurvivors— Kaitlyn Alexander (@realisticsay) March 24, 2016
Imagine a world where we trusted survivors & believed their stories as much as we trust their abusers and believe theirs. #IBelieveSurvivors— Sam Escobar (@myhairisblue) March 24, 2016
And you wonder why women do not come forward after abuse. #IBelieveSurvivors— Lisa MacLeod (@MacLeodLisa) March 24, 2016
Verdict aside the #Ghomeshi trial has confirmed for me that Canada's criminal + legal system is bias against sexual assault survivors.— Kristyn Wong-Tam (@kristynwongtam) March 24, 2016
Protesters hold signs outside of the Toronto courthouse as they await a judgment in the Jian Ghomeshi sexual assault trial, on Thursday, March 24, 2016. (Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS)