Jian Ghomeshi Trial: Lucy DeCoutere's Lawyer Offers Sobering Reminder About Assault Victims

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As the cross-examination of actress Lucy DeCoutere continued on the fourth day of Jian Ghomeshi's sexual assault trial, lawyer Gillian Hnatiw had an important reminder for all of us.

Hnatiw, who is representing DeCoutere, read a statement to the media on Friday, after her client finished her second day of a grueling exchange with defence lawyer Marie Henein.

gillian hnatiw
Gillian Hnatiw, the lawyer for actress Lucy DeCoutere reads a statement on Feb. 5, 2016. (Photo: Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)

"Violence against women is not about the behaviour of the women. It is not about how they cope with an assault or the details they commit to memory in the aftermath," she said, outside Toronto's Old City Hall courthouse, where the trial is taking place.

A video of the statement was posted on Twitter by Global News producer Alex Maveal.

Ghomeshi has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault, which carry a maximum 18 months in jail, and a choking charge that has a potential maximum of life in prison. He is being represented by Henein, who is known for an intense cross-examination style that has even been compared to Hannibal Lecter.

In reaction to Henein's line of questioning, which largely focused on DeCoutere's behaviour and decision to continue her relationship with Ghomeshi after the alleged assault, Hnatiw said the following:

"This is, and remains, a trial about Mr. Ghomeshi's conduct. What Lucy did and how she felt in the aftermath of the assault does not change that essential fact.

"It's not about whether [victims of violence] see their abusers again or send flowers, any more than it is about what they wear or how much they had to drink."

"It's not about whether [victims of violence] see their abusers again or send flowers, any more than it is about what they wear or how much they had to drink," she continued.

lucy decoutere
A copy of a photograph of Lucy DeCoutere released by the court during the trial of Jian Ghomeshi on Feb. 5, 2016. (Courtesy: The Canadian Press)

Hnatiw's powerful words garnered praise on Twitter, as many people encouraged others to remember her words as the trial proceeds.

Ghomeshi's trial resumes Monday.

— With a file from The Canadian Press

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