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Courtroom packed for first day of renowned DJ's 'sexual beating' trial

Jian Ghomeshi faces possible life in prison if convicted of four counts of sexual assault and one of overcoming resistance by choking.

jian Jian Ghomeshi Source: Chris Young

THE TRIAL OF Canadian syndicated radio host Jian Ghomeshi on charges of beating three women during sex began today in a packed Toronto courtroom.

A crush of journalists and spectators met the accused as he arrived in the morning for the proceedings, flanked by defence lawyers and ringed by police officers.

Ghomeshi, 48, pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking. He faces possibly life in prison if convicted.

The charges were laid in November 2014 after at least a dozen women came forward with accusations that Ghomeshi strangled them, punched them or slammed them against walls.

Three of them became plaintiffs in the criminal case, including “Trailer Park Boys” actress Lucy DeCoutere.

Other charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence.

Violent

DeCoutere told local media she was assaulted while on a date with Ghomeshi in 2003. She recounted that they had shared a kiss before he suddenly became violent, grabbing her by the throat, pressing her up against a wall, and slapping and choking her.

Another woman, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, testified that Ghomeshi once pulled her hair, knocked her onto her knees and punched her in the head in a sudden and unprovoked “rage”.

When she started crying, she said, Ghomeshi asked her to leave his house. “He threw me out like trash,” she testified.

Ghomeshi has argued that his acts were consensual rough sex of the kind found in erotic novels such as the best-seller “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

Legal pundits said the trial by judge will largely revolve around consent.

Before he was fired by Canadian public broadcaster CBC over the scandal, Ghomeshi’s top-rated arts magazine radio show “Q” was heard across Canada and in more than 180 cities in the United States.

It remains on air with a new host, hip-hop artist Shad, and has been re-branded as “q”.

Ghomeshi gained Youtube notoriety  in 2009 when an awkward interview he conducted with actor Billy Bob Thornton went viral.

Source: q on cbc/YouTube

© – AFP, 2016

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