x-CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi has been released on $100,000 bail after facing five charges in a Toronto courtroom on Wednesday — hours after he surrendered to police.
Ghomeshi was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcome resistance choking.
His lawyer, Marie Henein, said Ghomsehi will plead not guilty and will fight the charges “fully and directly” in court. She also said Ghomeshi wouldn’t be making any media statements.
Under his bail conditions he is required to live with his mother and is forbidden from contacting alleged victims. He must also surrender his passport and remain in Ontario. He will be back in court on January 8, 2015.
The charge of overcome resistance choking carries a potential life sentence according to Canada’s Criminal Code.
The head of CBC media relations, Chuck Thompson, said, “we don’t comment on police matters, criminal investigations or anything before the courts.”
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair also said he couldn’t comment on a case that’s before the courts but said it was important for alleged victims to come forward.
The arrest comes exactly a month after he was fired by the CBC, and a day after the former Q host dropped a $55-million lawsuit against the CBC, alleging defamation and breach of confidence in his statement of claim.
The broadcaster fired him on October 26 after saying it was shown “graphic evidence” that he had physically injured a woman.
Since his dismissal, nine women and one man have come forward with allegations, some dating back a decade, that Ghomeshi sexually or physically assaulted them.
The charges stem from complaints by three of them.
Former Trailer Park Boys actress Lucy DeCoutere is the only complainant who waived the publication ban on her identity. The other two can’t be named.
DeCoutere released the following statement on Wednesday:
“The past month has seen a major shift in the conversation about violence against women. It has been an overwhelming and painful time for many people, including myself, but also very inspiring. I hope that victim’s voices continue to be heard and that this is the start of a change that is so desperately needed.”
Ghomeshi, 47, admitted in a lengthy Facebook post published on Oct. 26, the day he was fired, that he engaged in “rough sex,” but insisted his encounters with women were consensual.
In a follow-up post a few days later, he said he would meet the flurry of allegations against him “directly,” but has not made any public statements since. The Facebook posts have since been deleted.