Disgraced Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and choking yesterday in a pretrial hearing that sets the stage for a high-profile trial over what Ghomeshi has said was consensual rough sex with a series of women.
His trial will begin on February 1 and will be a judge-only trial, meaning that there won’t be a jury.
The 48-year-old did not speak with reporters as he walked into the courthouse.
The broadcaster surrendered to police in Toronto a year ago (14) and was booked on four counts of sexual assault and one of choking following a police investigation of nine separate allegations of rape and abuse between 2002 and 2008.
The CBC fired Ghomeshi, 47, in October after executives saw what they described as graphic evidence that he had physically injured a woman. Three more sexual assault charges were added in January.
The other alleged sexual assault where charges were dropped, occurred in May of 2003 in Toronto. At that time, Crown prosecutor Mike Callaghan told the court there was no reasonable prospect of conviction on the two withdrawn charges, and that he had been in contact with the two complainants involved.
Along with the five charges Ghomeshi entered not-guilty pleas for Thursday, he also faces one charge of sexual assault that is being tried separately.
Ghomeshi is out on $100,000 with the condition that he live with his mother.