Two sex assault charges against Canada radio host dropped

OTTAWA (AFP) - Canadian prosecutors withdrew two out of seven sexual assault charges against syndicated radio host Jian Ghomeshi on Tuesday, saying there was no prospect of a conviction.

Two separate trials on the remaining four charges of sexual assault and one of choking will be heard in February and June 2016.

His defence lawyer has said he would plead not guilty to all of the charges.

Ghomeshi, 47, was fired by Canada's public broadcaster CBC last October after at least a dozen women came forward with accusations he strangled them, punched them or slammed them against walls.

Some of them became plaintiffs in the criminal case, including Trailer Park Boys actress Lucy DeCoutere, after police laid charges a month later.

Ghomeshi, who is free on bail, has argued that his acts were consensual rough sex of the kind found in erotic novels such as the best-seller Fifty Shades Of Grey.

But CBC executive Heather Conway has characterised the acts as "inflicting an injury on another human being".

The case triggered an uproar in Canada and a 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.

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 new host, hip-hop artist Shad, and has been rebranded as "q".