Jian Ghomeshi will plead not guilty to sexual assault charges: Lawyer

Former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi plans to plead not guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault, his lawyer said Wednesday. Marie Henein made her comments just moments after Ghomeshi was released on $100,000 bail at a Toronto courthouse.

TORONTO — Former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi plans to plead not guilty to multiple counts of sexual assault, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Marie Henein made her comments just moments after Ghomeshi was released on $100,000 bail at a Toronto courthouse.

“We will address these allegations fully and directly in a courtroom,” she said as a sombre-looking Ghomeshi stood by her side.

“It is not my practice to litigate my cases in the media. This one will be no different. We will say whatever we have to say in a court of law,” said Henein, adding that Ghomeshi would not be speaking to the media either.

The 47-year-old Ghomeshi turned himself in to police earlier on Wednesday and was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking.

He looked tired as he appeared in the prisoner’s box of a packed Toronto courtroom wearing a dark suit with a light shirt.

His bail conditions include living with his mother – who was present in court and acted as his surety – no contact with his alleged victims and an agreement to surrender his passport and remain in Ontario.

When asked by a judge if he understood the conditions of his release, Ghomeshi clasped his hands in front of him, nodded slightly and said “yes” and “I do.”

Ghomeshi’s lawyer requested a publication ban on the bail hearing, which was granted, meaning the allegations and evidence details at the proceedings could not be reported.

The former “Q” radio host was fired by CBC on Oct. 26 after the public broadcaster said it had seen “graphic evidence” that he had physically injured a woman.

Since his dismissal, nine women have come forward with allegations that Ghomeshi sexually or physically assaulted them – three of them filed police complaints.

Ghomeshi has admitted that he engaged in “rough sex” but insisted his encounters with women were consensual.

Toronto police said they began an investigation into several allegations of sexual assault relating to Ghomeshi on Oct. 31.

One of the women who contacted police was Lucy DeCoutere, an actress on the show “Trailer Park Boys,” who was the first to speak on the record about her alleged experiences with Ghomeshi.

DeCoutere accused Ghomeshi of choking her “to the point she could not breathe” and slapping her “hard three times on the side of her head.”

In a statement issued Wednesday, DeCoutere said the Ghomeshi scandal has lead to “a major shift” in the conversation about violence against women.

“It has been an overwhelming and painful time for many people, including myself, but also very inspiring. I hope that victims’ voices continue to be heard and that this is the start of a change that is so desperately needed.”

None of the allegations against Ghomeshi have been proven in court.

His next court appearance is on Jan.8.

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