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Canadian radio host Jian Ghomeshi cleared of sexual assault charges

The former CBC radio host has been acquitted of all charges following allegations that he assaulted several women. The case helped spark a nationwide conversation about rape.

A Toronto judge on Thursday found Ghomeshi not guilty of four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking based on allegations from three women, bringing an end to one of the most controversial court cases in recent Canadian history.

Ghomeshi, once the host of the popular CBC radio show "Q," was

arrested in November 2014

after being fired by his employer following evidence that he had sexually assaulted at least one woman. The media personality denied the accusations, claiming he had engaged in rough, but consensual, sex and that he was the victim of a vengeful ex-girlfriend.

However, when several anonymous women also came forward, the case blew up into a major scandal across the country, even inspiring a

popular Twitter campaign called

BeenRapedNeverReported# meant to give voice to victims of unreported sexual assaults.

Verdict draws criticism

In his decision, Justice William Horkins said it was hard to trust several of the key witnesses after they had withheld information.

"The harsh reality is that once a witness has shown to be deceptive and manipulative in giving their evidence, that witness can no longer expect the Court to consider them to be a trusted source of the truth," Horkins said.

The verdict drew immediate condemnation from members of the media and the public. A crowd of female protestors gathered in front of the courthouse, chanting, "Ghomeshi guilty."

Ghomeshi isn't completely cleared, however: He'll appear in court again in June to face one last charge of sexual assault dating back to 2008.

blc/jr (AP, AFP)

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