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Saturday, April 2, 2016

OJ Simpson vs Jian Ghomeshi

The legal systems of Canada and United States are similar in many ways, particularly as it applies to criminal matters. The recent acquittal of Jian Ghomeshi on four counts of sexual assault sparked deep division among Canadians in much the same way as OJ Simpson’s double murder acquittal did in United States, which should not come as too much of a shock, given the similarities between the two.

It would be difficult to laud the same degree of celebrity on Jian Ghomeshi as that enjoyed by OJ Simpson. Still, in Canada and anywhere within the reaches of CBC’s airwaves, Jian Ghomeshi was their brightest star. Handsome, well-paid, and very much in the public eye, Ghomeshi attracted throngs of eager and willing sexual partners for all the same reasons as did OJ Simpson and other celebrities.

Nobody died in Ghomeshi’s cases. However, the sexual assault allegations made against him was about to lay waste to five individuals (Ghomeshi himself and the four alleged victims) who were at the center of this melee.

What is strikingly similar between the cases of Ghomeshi and Simpson was the absolute floundering of the prosecution team to vet their own witnesses, and arguably, it was this pivotal point on which the justice system failed any victims, and further impeded the likelihood of future sexual assault victims of any perpetrator coming forward to endure the trial process.

In Simpson’s case, Mark Fuhrman, a Los Angeles Police Detective, lied on the witness stand, and then pled the fifth on the direct question of did he plant evidence. It would be a crucial hurdle for the District Attorney to overcome, and a point that distracted the jury from maintaining any focus on the double murder for which they had been convened. If one of the key LAPD Detectives planted evidence and lied in court, then how can any evidence presented be untainted? Marcia Clark, lead prosecutor against Simpson ought to have known. On the Fuhrman perjury alone, Marcia Clark failed the Goldman and Brown families.

With Ghomeshi, Crown prosecutor, Michael Callaghan, equally failed in his duties bringing forth a high profile case against one of Canada’s most celebrated broadcasting personalities with alleged victims who were not as innocent as one might expect. In allegations against Ghomeshi claiming that he sexually assaulted four women, his brilliant defense counsel, Marie Henein, was able to prove that his alleged victims engaged in behavior that would be difficult to assimilate to that of one being sexually assaulted. One woman sent him flowers after being allegedly sexually assaulted. One messaged Ghomeshi practically begging for another date. Prosecutor Michael Callaghan failed all legitimate sexual assault victims in his quest for glory with little regard to the impact his personal agenda would have on Canadian society.

Due to double jeopardy laws in Canada and United States, we will never truly know whether OJ Simpson and Jian Ghomeshi participated in the crimes for which they were accused. Everybody will have their personal beliefs, but in the eyes of the law, both men are not guilty of those crimes. We can thank the respective prosecutors of these cases for wasting millions of dollars in taxpayer money in bringing cases before court that were not sufficiently vetted, and for which there is no accountability.

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