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Jian Ghomeshi arrives at a Toronto courthouse Feb. 11, 2016, for closing arguments in his sexual assault trial.Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Jian Ghomeshi's sexual assault trial concluded on Thursday afternoon with no evidence from his defence team to directly contradict the allegations from three women that he attacked them without their consent.

But in her closing submission in the eight-day trial, Marie Henein insisted the complainants' testimony was so riddled with inconsistencies that it did not meet the high bar necessary for a court to convict her client.

Her fiery arguments followed a low-key submission by Crown counsel Michael Callaghan, who sought to remind the court that, while the witnesses' testimony sometimes conflicted with other statements they had made, they never wavered in their insistence that they had not consented to being hurt by Mr. Ghomeshi.

"The allegations in this case are clearly sexual assault," he told the court.

"The evidence of each of the complainants describe the intentional application of force without consent, in a context that a reasonably objective observer would conclude was sexual in nature."

Mr. Callaghan argued that each of the women had her own valid reasons to hold back from admitting to further interactions with the former CBC personality. He noted that the women had no clear motive to fabricate their complaints, despite the defence's suggestion of collusion between actress Lucy DeCoutere and the third witness, whose identity, like that of the first witness, is protected by a publication ban.

Noting that the defence had presented a series of ribald electronic communications between the two women, Mr. Callaghan characterized the interactions as "an informal support network." He added: "They relied on each other to get through this process, and in that context, they had some pretty negative things to say about Mr. Ghomeshi."

Mr. Ghomeshi faces four counts of sexual assault and one of overcoming resistance by choking for allegations dating back to late 2002 through the summer of 2003.

During a short break after Mr. Callaghan's address, a hush fell over the courtroom as the three complainants filed in to the public gallery accompanied by friends and support workers to hear the defence's closing arguments.

Ms. Henein's associate, Danielle Robitaille, opened with a point-by-point attack on each complainant's testimony.

Rising after Ms. Robitaille to address the case law she declared to be relevant, Ms. Henein adopted a stern, lecturing tone, reminding the judge of serial omissions and evasions the women had made before and during the trial, and accusing at least one of perjury in her testimony.

While she agreed with the Crown's position, reflected in case law, that there was "no right way or wrong way to behave" after being assaulted, Ms. Henein argued the women had mischaracterized their interactions with Mr. Ghomeshi after the incidents to such an extent that the rest of their testimony should be discounted.

Noting the third witness told police only last week about a sexual encounter with Mr. Ghomeshi after the alleged assault, Ms. Henein said: "It was disclosed at the 11th hour … only when there was a concern that [the witness] would be contradicted by objective evidence." She added: "That is more than deeply troubling. ...

"People respond to life experiences in a number of different ways, but lying repeatedly to the police, to the prosecutors, and under oath in this court is simply not one of them. There is not an expert that will come and testify that perjury is indicative of trauma," she declared.

After spending most of her cross-examinations contrasting interviews the witnesses gave to media outlets with their police statements and courtroom testimony, Ms. Henein closed by reminding the judge that the media spotlight on the case brings a unique responsibility.

Guilt "is not proven by tweets and press releases," she said.

"'High profile trials by their nature attract strong public emotion,'" she added, quoting a 1997 Supreme Court of Canada decision. "That is why the Crown is charged with a duty to ensure that every accused person is treated with fairness. 'It is especially in high profile cases, where the justice system will be on display, that counsel must do their utmost to ensure that any resultant convictions are based on facts, and not on emotions.'"

Justice William B. Horkins, who heard the trial without a jury for the Ontario Court of Justice, reserved his decision until March 24. Mr. Ghomeshi faces trial on an additional charge of sexual assault in June.

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