Published May 11, 2016Earlier this year, former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi was found not guilty on five charges — four of sexual assault and one of overcoming resistance by choking — brought forth by three female accusers. Now, a final charge of sexual assault has been dropped.
The disgraced media personality was expected to stand trial once again on June 6 against a charge brought forward by another former CBC employee regarding an alleged sexual assault from 2008. Now, though, he has agreed to a peace bond with his accuser.
The decision was revealed during a hearing today (May 11) in Toronto, presided over by Judge Timothy Lipson. Ghomeshi and his legal team were present for the hearing, during which a publication ban was lifted and the complainant was identified as former Q producer Kathryn Borel. She previously penned a personal account of her abuse for The Guardian in 2014.
Crown lawyer Michael Callaghan agreed to drop the sexual assault charge if Ghomeshi met the conditions of the peace bond. The conditions laid forth in the agreement included an apology to Borel from Ghomeshi, as well as a letter from his therapist confirming his continuing work towards rehabilitation. Additionally, Ghomeshi must refrain from contacting Borel and "keep the peace and be of good behaviour" for 12 months. Any breach of the the peace bond could result in a separate charge.
In his apology, Ghomeshi said that in the last 18 months, he "has come to terms with my own deep regret and embarrassment."
He stated: "I now recognize that I crossed boundaries inappropriately. A workplace should not have any sexualized tone. I failed to understand how my words and actions would put a coworker who was younger than me, and in a junior position to mine, in an uncomfortable place... This is a challenging business to be in and I did not need to make it more difficult for Ms. Borel. The past 18 months have been an education for me. I have reflected deeply and have been working hard to address the attitudes that led me, at the time, to think that this was acceptable."
He also apologized to his family and friends, closing by saying, "I regret my behaviour at work at work with all of my heart and I hope that I can find forgiveness from those for whom my actions took such a toll."
Find a full transcript of the apology below.
Judge Lipson and Ghomeshi's lawyer Marie Henein both reiterated that a peace bond does not constitute an admission of guilt.
UPDATE (5/11, 11:30 a.m.): Borel has issued a statement in the wake of the peace bond. In a piece published by the Globe and Mail, she details the abuse Ghomeshi committed against her in the workplace, explains her decision to sign a peace bond rather than bringing to case to trial, and calls for Ghomeshi to own up to and apologize for the allegations from 20 other women. Read the full statement from Borel here.
Judge William Horkins' decision to acquit Ghomeshi of the previous accusations drew public ire, as well as responses from musicians and actors. The judge accused all three women of lying and trying to withhold information from the court.