Former CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi acquitted on four charges of sexual assault and one count of choking

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      Judge William Horkins has ruled that former Q host Jian Ghomeshi is not guilty on five criminal charges.

      The three women who testified were in the Ontario Court of Justice courtroom when the verdict was announced.

      Horkins ruled that one complainant who can be named, actor Lucy DeCoutere, deliberately misled investigators when she didn't reveal her contacts with Ghomeshi after he alleged choked and hit her. She subsequently wrote a letter to him stating "I love your hands".

      The judge questioned the motivations and credibility of all three women, two of whom can't be named because of a publication ban.

      Horkins emphasized in his ruling that because there was "reasonable doubt", Ghomeshi had to be acquitted. However, he also said that the existence of reasonable doubt does not necessarily mean that the incidents never happened.

      Ghomeshi faced four counts of sexual assault and one charge of overcoming resistance by choking. The allegations dated back to 2002 and 2003. Ghomeshi faces a sixth criminal charge of sexual assault in June.

      The women came forward after then Toronto police chief and current Liberal MP Bill Blair had publicly urged people to contact investigators.

      During the trial, the defence legal team introduced emails in court from the women to Ghomeshi after the incidents had allegedly taken place. This was designed to undermine the complainants' credibility and appeared to influence the judge.

      The defence lawyers' tactics caused women's groups across the country to complain about how sexual-assault complainants are treated in Canadian courts.

      After CBC fired Ghomeshi in October 2014, he wrote a Facebook post claiming that his dismissal resulted from "a campaign of false allegations pursued by a jilted ex girlfriend and a freelance writer".

      In subsequent weeks, nine women went to the media with stories maintaining that Ghomeshi had abused them. Most of them spoke anonymously.

      Prior to his broadcastiing career, Ghomeshi was in the in the band Moxy Früvous. Following these news reports of his sexual behaviour, his former bandmates released a statement in 2014 saying they were "sickened and saddened".

      Meanwhile, Vancouver Rape Relief & Women's Shelter has announced that it's organizing demonstration later today in support of the complainants. It will take place outside the CBC building (700 Hamilton Street) at 5 p.m.

      In a statement released this morning, the group expressed outrage over the decision and "by the judge['s] acceptance of the misogynist line of defense crashing the victims' credibility instead of examining Ghomeshi's behaviours".