Legal troubles continue to mount for fallen media star Jian Ghomeshi, who was hit on Thursday with three more charges of sexual assault.
The former radio host – who had been one of the biggest names at the CBC – made a surprise appearance in court for what was expected to be a routine procedural matter. Instead, prosecutor Michael Callaghan announced the new charges, which he said involved three additional complainants.
The 47-year-old Mr. Ghomeshi now faces a total of seven sexual-assault charges and one count of overcoming resistance by choking, an offence that carries a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.
Mr. Ghomeshi’s lawyer, Marie Henein, had said her client would plead not guilty to the first five charges. On Thursday, she said he would also plead not guilty to the new charges.
The accused was a Canadian media star before his career unravelled in the face of multiple accusations that he attacked women. At least nine women have alleged to the media that they were physically or sexually abused by Mr. Ghomeshi. All but two – actor Lucy DeCoutere and Reva Seth, a lawyer and author – have spoken anonymously.
Details of the allegations behind the charges announced on Thursday are protected by a publication ban, as are the specifics of the allegations that prompted the earlier charges.
Mr. Ghomeshi, wearing a grey suit and black tie, displayed little animation in court. He sat quietly at the counsel table while waiting for proceedings to begin, talking occasionally with his legal staff.
He did not respond to repeated questions as he left the courthouse and waded through a throng of reporters. A few hecklers cat-called on the sidewalk and one woman shouted: “Castrate him.”
Mr. Ghomeshi has portrayed his behaviour as nothing more than consensual rough sex. The explanation did not satisfy the CBC, which fired him last fall.
The former host of the show Q subsequently posted online a lengthy statement in which he claimed he was dismissed “because of what I do in my private life.” He then filed a $55-million lawsuit against his former employer, which he later abandoned.
Mr. Ghomeshi is free on $100,000 bail. He was released into the custody of his mother, Sara, after turning over his passport and agreeing to remain in Ontario. He was banned from possessing weapons and must stay at least 500 metres away from all of his accusers.
The last public statement from Mr. Ghomeshi was in late October, when he wrote on his Facebook page that “I intend to meet these allegations directly.” His next court date is set for Feb. 4, 2015.Report Typo/Error