Former CBC radio star Jian Ghomeshi apologized in court today for his "thoughtless and insensitive" behaviour to a former colleague who had accused him of sexually assaulting her. After signing a peace bond, the Crown withdrew the charge of sexual assault for which Mr. Ghomeshi was slated to stand trial in June. Here's a closer look at what peace bonds are and how it relates to this case.
Follow The Globe's Simon Houpt on Twitter for updates from today's court proceedings.
WHAT IS THIS CASE ABOUT?
Mr. Ghomeshi, 48, was charged one year ago in relation to an incident in 2008 involving Kathryn Borel, a former CBC employee, whose identity had been protected by a publication ban until Wednesday morning. (Here's the full statement Ms. Borel made on Wednesday.) Had he been convicted of the charge, it could have carried a maximum of 10 years behind bars on conviction.
WHAT IS A PEACE BOND?
A peace bond is an order from the court that requires a person to be on good behaviour and abide by set conditions for a certain time. Criminal lawyer Daniel Brown explained to The Canadian Press that "good behaviour" entails not breaking any laws. The conditions, which are tailored to individual cases, could include not having contact with a complainant or restrictions on owning weapons. Mr. Brown says such orders are common in domestic-assault cases or situations where criminal prosecution seems unlikely to succeed.
In Mr. Ghomeshi's case, the peace bond stipulates that he not contact Ms. Borel for 12 months. He also apologized in court on Wednesday.
WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO WITH HIS OTHER TRIAL?
Mr. Ghomeshi's earlier trial dealt with three different complainants and incidents alleged to have occurred in 2002 and 2003, before he worked for Q. In that trial, he faced sexual assault and choking charges, and was acquitted of all of them, a verdict the Crown said last month that it would not appeal. Here's The Globe's recap of how that trial unfolded, including Justice William Horkins's full verdict.
HOW DID THIS AGREEMENT COME TOGETHER?
The agreement to have Mr. Ghomeshi sign a peace bond was instigated by his lawyer, The Canadian Press reported Tuesday, citing a source familiar with the proceedings. Susan Chapman, the lawyer representing the complainant in the scheduled June trial, declined to say whether her client had asked to resolve the case through a peace bond.
WHY GO THIS ROUTE IN THE GHOMESHI CASE?
Mr. Brown says peace bonds are often used as a way to resolve a case without having to have both sides present evidence at trial. He says they are issued at the request of the complainant, who may not wish to testify, or at the request of a prosecutor, who recognizes a case is unlikely to result in conviction. Historical sex assault charges, such as those Mr. Ghomeshi was slated to face, are examples of cases that are difficult to prosecute, he says. "If this had just been Joe Citizen and not Jian Ghomeshi, we might have even expected this type of outcome much sooner," he says. "In fact, this case may never have made its way into the court system in the first place."
With a report from Simon Houpt