TORONTO — Mere hours after CBC star Jian Ghomeshi allegedly choked and slapped her, "Trailer Park Boys" actress Lucy DeCoutere expressed a desire to have sex with him and a few days later penned a hand-written letter to say "I love your hands."
The stunning revelations at Ghomeshi's heavily scrutinized sexual assault trial emerged Friday as the disgraced broadcaster's defence lawyer confronted DeCoutere with numerous friendly and even fawning dispatches between the actress and the now 48-year-old Ghomeshi.
DeCoutere — one of three women complainants at Ghomeshi's trial and the only one who can be identified — said that until Marie Henein presented it to her in court, she didn't remember sending the email in which she expressed sexual desire for the radio star just hours after he had allegedly assaulted her.
She added that the email, and others that were racy, didn't mean the alleged assault did not take place.
"It never happened," Henein said firmly of the actress's accusation.
"Oh, it happened," DeCoutere fired back.
The intense moments came during the actress's second day on the witness stand as Henein noted that DeCoutere has repeatedly said — both on the witness stand and to police — that she had no romantic interest in Ghomeshi.
Her allegations are behind one of the four counts of sexual assault and the one count of overcoming resistance by choking. Ghomeshi has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
DeCoutere told the court that after meeting Ghomeshi at a conference in Banff in the summer of 2003, they began corresponding. She soon planned a weekend trip to Toronto where she met him for dinner and then went back to his home.
While in his bedroom, DeCoutere testified that Ghomeshi suddenly started kissing her and then, without her consent, pushed her against a wall, choked her and slapped her three times in the face with an open hand. She said she didn't know how to react, and stayed an hour in his home to "placate the situation."
DeCoutere also testified about subsequent interactions with Ghomeshi — including another encounter in Banff a year later, when he abruptly joined her in a karaoke session of "(Hit me) Baby One More Time." But Henein pointed out that she only told police this week about certain details of her relationship with Ghomeshi after the alleged attack.
"Is it possible, Ms. DeCoutere, that you just seem to forget the stuff that just shows you've been lying?" Henein asked.
"Oh no, I'm not lying about anything," DeCoutere said evenly, adding that she didn't understand the importance of post-incident encounters until recently. "I'm more imprinted with the things that I found impactful, like him choking me."
Presenting DeCoutere with email after email that she sent to Ghomeshi — including one featuring a photo of the actress simulating fellatio on a beer bottle, and another asking Ghomeshi when they could meet up — Henein built up to her two big reveals.
Pacing the courtroom floor, the defence lawyer noted that the day after the alleged assault, DeCoutere sent Ghomeshi a raunchy email.
"You kicked my ass last night and that makes me want to f--- your brains out," the email said.
"What happened was no sexual assault," she said incredulously. "The next day, after thinking about it, you wanted to 'f--- his brains out."
DeCoutere, who remained calm throughout the day, said she didn't remember the email.
"That still doesn't change the fact that Mr. Ghomeshi assaulted me," DeCoutere said. "Women can be assaulted by someone and still have positive feelings for them afterwards, that's why there are emotionally abusive relationships that continue."
Henein then moved on and produced a hand-written letter DeCoutere sent to Ghomeshi from Halifax, where she lives, days after her trip to Toronto.
"I want to know more, have more fun and easy times with you," the letter said. "I am sad we didn't spend the night together."
The last line of the email — which Henein asked DeCoutere to read out — drew a gasp from the courtroom.
"I love your hands," DeCoutere wrote.
When asked to explain, DeCoutere spoke slowly and deliberately.
"The last line of it is me pointing love to the very thing he used to hurt me," she said. "I totally forgot about it. I guess I wanted to forget about it. So this letter and any subsequent correspondence or encounters that I had with Mr. Ghomeshi changed nothing."
By Diana Mehta, The Canadian Press