Majority of Toronto residents disapprove of verdict in Ghomeshi case: poll
Chris Fox, CTV Toronto
Published Saturday, March 26, 2016 9:09AM EDT
A majority of Toronto residents say they disapprove of the verdict in the Jian Ghomeshi trial and nearly 4 out of 10 report that their confidence in the criminal justice system has decreased because of it, a new poll has found.
On Friday, a judge found the former CBC radio host not guilty on four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance, choking after ruling that the complainants in the case “deliberately” decided to withhold important information on the stand, undermining their credibility as witnesses.
The Mainstreet Research poll of 2,017 randomly selected Toronto residents found that 53 per cent of respondents disapproved of the verdict (34 per cent strongly) while just 36 per cent approved of it (12 per cent strongly). Women were more likely to disapprove of the verdict (57 per cent) as were those between 18 and 34 (60 per cent) or 35 to 49 (62 per cent). Residents that were 65 or older were the most supportive of the verdict with 53 per cent of them saying they either strongly or somewhat approved of it.
When asked what impact the verdict had on their faith in the criminal justice system a plurality of respondents (38 per cent) reported that it had decreased as a result while 25 per cent said it increased and 22 per cent said it had no impact on their confidence in the justice system. About 15 per cent of respondents said they weren’t sure what effect the verdict had in their faith in the justice system.
Women were more likely to report having reduced confidence in the justice system following the verdict (46 per cent) than men (30 per cent). There was also a generation divide with 49 per cent of those between the ages of 18 to 34 and 48 per cent of those 35 to 49 also reporting a decreased confidence in the justice system. Meanwhile, only 24 per cent of those 65 and up said the same.
"Confidence in our justice system seems to be shaken, with 38% saying the trial and its verdict decreased their confidence in the criminal justice system,” Mainstreet Research President Quito Maggi said in a press release accompanying the poll.
In addition to gauging Torontonians feelings on the Ghomeshi verdict the poll also quizzed them on how closely they folllowed the trial. About 43 per cent reported following it very closely while 25 per cent reported following it somewhat closely. About 23 per cent said they were following not too closely or not at all closely while another 9 per cent reported having no awareness of the trial at all.
The poll was conducted after the verdict was released on Thursday and is accurate to within 2.18 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.