Editorial Exchange: Marie Henein Betrayed No One by Defending Jian Ghomeshi

By Toronto Star | The Canadian Press, April 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Editorial Exchange: Marie Henein Betrayed No One by Defending Jian Ghomeshi


Toronto Star, The Canadian Press


Editorial Exchange: Marie Henein betrayed no one by defending Jian Ghomeshi

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published March 30:

Did defence lawyer Marie Henein "betray" women when she shredded the credibility of Jian Ghomeshi's three female accusers during his celebrity sex assault trial? In the eyes of some, there's no doubt in the wake of his acquittal.

Passions ran high during the high-profile case, with its lurid tales of creepy violence and bizarre attraction. Throughout, Henein has been reviled on social media and elsewhere for betraying women's rights, failing to stand up for her gender and abusing witnesses.

In a remarkable interview with Henein this week, CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge read several scathing Facebook postings: "Brave Marie Henein, you've just set women's rights and rights of assault victims back 70 years." "You are on the wrong side of history." And "feels like a betrayal from a sister."

A Twitter message also channelled former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright's famous remark: "There's a special place in Hell for women who don't help other women."

That's just a taste of the abuse Henein has faced for successfully defending her client. And while one of Canada's highest-profile criminal lawyers would never describe herself as "warm and fuzzy," the torrent of outrage must have been as painful as it was ignorant and dangerous.

As Henein told CBC News in a forceful and thoughtful rebuttal of her critics, any trial of this sort is bound to be "devastating," "painful" and "crushing" for the accused and accusers alike. "It's a very, very, very hard thing to go through," she said. But at the end of the day, Canada's justice system with its presumption of innocence is a fair and credible one. …

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