Canada radio host Jian Ghomeshi faces more sexual assault charges

Canadian celebrity radio host Jian Ghomeshi leaves court after getting bail on multiple counts of sexual assault in Toronto Nov 26, 2014. Three additional sexual assault charges were laid against former syndicated radio host Jian Ghomeshi on Thu
Canadian celebrity radio host Jian Ghomeshi leaves court after getting bail on multiple counts of sexual assault in Toronto Nov 26, 2014. Three additional sexual assault charges were laid against former syndicated radio host Jian Ghomeshi on Thursday after more women came forward with abuse allegations. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

OTTAWA (AFP) - Three additional sexual assault charges were laid against former syndicated radio host Jian Ghomeshi on Thursday after more women came forward with abuse allegations in a scandal that has rocked Canada's public broadcaster.

Ghomeshi, 47, was in court to set a preliminary hearing date in the case when the new accusations were revealed.

His lawyer said he would plead not guilty to all of the charges, including four previous counts of sexual assault and one of choking.

Ghomeshi was originally charged last November, a month after being fired by Canada's public broadcaster over the accusations.

He sued the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for C$55 million (S$62 million) for wrongful dismissal but later withdrew the lawsuit.

The initial accusations were made anonymously but since then, at least 12 women have come forward with stories of being strangled, punched or slammed against walls by Ghomeshi.

Ghomeshi has argued that the sex was consensual "rough sex" of the kind found in erotic romance novels such as the best-seller Fifty Shades Of Grey.

But CBC head of English programming Heather Conway characterised the acts as "inflicting an injury on another human being."

The case triggered an uproar in Canada, leading to an urgent public debate on sexual violence in society, as well as a rise in the number of complaints - including by two parliamentarians against two fellow lawmakers.

Two senior CBC executives have also been suspended for allegedly mishandling an internal investigation into the affair.

Ghomeshi's top-rated arts magazine radio show "Q" was heard across Canada and in more than 180 cities in the United States.

It remains on air with a series of different guest hosts.