Trailer Park Boys’ actress testifying at Ghomeshi trial

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TORONTO – “Trailer Park Boys” actress Lucy DeCoutere is on the witness stand at Jian Ghomeshi’s sexual assault trial describing how he allegedly attacked her.

She says she went to his house in 2003 after the two had dinner in Toronto.

Shortly after they arrived, DeCoutere says Ghomeshi suddenly started kissing her, then grabbed her by the throat, pushed her up against a wall and hit her repeatedly.

DeCoutere, who has waived her right to a publication ban, testified that she did not consent to being choked or slapped, and that Ghomeshi initiated the kissing.

The Royal Canadian Air Force captain told the court she remembers not being able to breathe during the attack, and feeling shock and surprise. She testified she’d never been hit in the face before.

DeCoutere also testified that she went to his house with no interest in having sex with him.

“I knew there was a chance that we might be intimate but I also knew that it would only go to a certain point because I knew I didn’t have any interest in having sex with him.”

Earlier, DeCoutere describing first meeting the disgraced broadcaster at a conference in Banff, Alta., in 2003, when he asked her if she was from the United States.

“It was a very light conversation,” said DeCoutere. “He asked if I was an American, I think because I didn’t know much about the work he had done up until that point.”

She added: “It was sort of flirtatious…it was a nice chat. It was extremely friendly with flirtatious undertones that were sort of cheeky. I came away thinking Mr. Ghomeshi was a playful person who may be fun to spend some more time with.”

The two subsequently began exchanging emails.

DeCoutere took the stand after an hour-long recess after Justice William Horkins refused to release a bikini photo of a woman who testified against the former CBC star, saying courts have an obligation to protect the privacy and reduce the trauma of those who come forward.

Ghomeshi’s trial heard earlier this week that the woman, who cannot be identified, sent the photo to Ghomeshi 18 months after he allegedly assaulted her on two separate occasions.

During gruelling cross-examination by Ghomeshi’s lawyer, the woman explained she sent the photo as “bait” to encourage Ghomeshi to contact her so she could demand an explanation for the alleged assaults. She said, however, that she did not remember the emails when she spoke to police and Crown prosecutors.

A lawyer representing the Toronto Star, CBC, CTV, Global News and the Postmedia Network sought access to the photo, arguing that releasing it would be in the public interest.

The Crown and the woman’s lawyer, however, argued vehemently against the photo’s release.

The judge agreed with both the Crown and the complainant’s lawyer.

The former host of CBC Radio’s popular culture show “Q” has pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcome resistance by choking.

The trial has heard the alleged details behind the first two counts of sexual assault.

The woman who testified against Ghomeshi earlier this week said he was a charming gentleman with a dark side and attacked her in December 2002 and January 2003.

During the first incident, the woman said Ghomeshi suddenly yanked her hair while they were sharing a “sensuous” kiss. In the second incident in his home, she testified, he once again abruptly pulled her hair while they were kissing and punched her in the head.

Ghomeshi, 48, has betrayed no emotion during his trial, but has closely watched his lawyer as she conducts her questioning.

If convicted of sexual assault, he faces a maximum sentence of 18 months behind bars. The choking charge against him, however, carries a potential life sentence.