Hoggard found guilty of sexual assault on a woman, acquitted of two other charges

TORONTO (AP) — Jacob Hoggard is likely to face more than two years in prison, an Ontario judge said Sunday after the Hedley frontman was found guilty of raping an Ottawa woman but not guilty of groping and raping a woman. a teenage fan

Hoggard, 37, hugged his wife in a Toronto courtroom after the jury delivered its verdict in the early afternoon. His wife wiped away her tears after Hoggard returned to her seat.

The verdict capped six days of deliberations in which the jury, which appeared to be comprised of 10 men and two women, twice deadlocked on “some charges” before moving on. Jurors also asked a number of questions about legal issues, many related to consent.

Crown counsel Jill Witkin described Hoggard’s crime as “blatant, brutal, degrading, traumatic” and asked the court to revoke his bail pending sentencing.

Ontario Superior Court Judge Gillian Roberts rejected the Crown’s request, but said stricter conditions were warranted and noted the musician would likely face a prison sentence, which implies more than two years behind bars.

A bail hearing is scheduled for Monday morning, with a sentencing hearing expected this summer.

Hoggard has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault with bodily harm and one count of sexual interference, a count that refers to sexually touching a person under the age of 16.

During the trial, prosecutors alleged that Hoggard groped the teen after a Hedley show in Toronto in April 2016 and then violently raped her in a Toronto-area hotel room later that year after she turned 16. years. Toronto hotel in November 2016.

Both complainants stated that they were left bleeding and bruised. Each said that Hoggard slapped them, spit in their mouths and called them derogatory names such as “bitch” and “whore” during encounters, and that he restricted their breathing at one point.

The younger complainant said Hoggard pushed her face into the pillows until she thought she would pass out, while the Ottawa woman said he strangled her so hard she feared she would die. The second complainant also said that on one occasion, Hoggard dragged her by the legs into the bathroom and asked her to urinate on him, then said that he would urinate on her, which she refused.

The Crown urged jurors to consider the similarities between the events recalled by two women who never met or spoke to each other, arguing that they reflect a pattern of behavior.

Hoggard, meanwhile, testified during the trial that he had consensual “passionate” sexual relations with the plaintiffs, and that he did not sexually touch the teen until she was 16.

“I knew it when he turned 16,” Hoggard testified, adding that he made sure “to be responsible and not break the law.”

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He denied choking or restricting the complainants’ breathing, but said some of the other things they described, such as slapping, spitting, name-calling and urinating, were among his sexual preferences and therefore could have happened. He described the type of slapping he enjoys as a softer touch.

He testified that his memory of the encounters was unclear, but he knew that the complainants consented based on his verbal and non-verbal cues, and because it was their practice to pay attention to their sexual partners.

Defense attorneys alleged the women lied about being raped after Hoggard turned them away because they were embarrassed and upset that he had used them for sex.

Since Hoggard admitted to having sex with both complainants, the case turned to the issue of consent, with jurors having to determine whether the encounters were violent rapes, as complainants alleged, or consensual one-night stands, as alleged. the singer.

Jurors spent much of the weekend replaying most of the testimony given by the complainants and Hoggard about the hotel encounters.

They were told that if they found that the whistleblowers did not consent, they should have “little difficulty” in concluding that Hoggard knowingly or knowingly ignored the fact that they were not consenting.

Over the course of the trial, which lasted about a month, jurors heard dramatically different portrayals of Hoggard, a musician whose band, Hedley, rose to fame after placing third on the reality show Canadian Idol in 2004.

Hoggard’s attorneys described him as an insecure and flawed man who sought validation from women through frequent one-night stands while on tour, even when in a relationship. He had amassed a list of women in various cities and contacted them when he was in town, sometimes arranging transportation to take them to his hotel, they said.

The singer may have been arrogant with women and inconsiderate of their feelings, but he is not a “sadistic serial rapist,” defense attorney Megan Savard said in her closing arguments to the jury.

The Crown, for its part, described Hoggard as an “entitled sexual opportunist” who didn’t think he had to take no for an answer when it came to satisfying his “unusual” sexual desires.

Witkin argued in her closing submissions that the singer could not specify what sounds or gestures the complainants made to indicate their consent, particularly for acts such as slapping or spitting.

The court heard that the younger plaintiff had been a fan of Hedley since childhood and met the singer after a concert when she was 12 years old. Her parents exchanged numbers with Hoggard, and the teenager began communicating with him directly in April 2016 when she was 15 years old.

Later that month, Hoggard arranged for her and two friends to attend a Hedley show in Toronto, the court heard. She sent a car to her hometown north of the city and gave the three teens backstage passes, the jury heard.

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The complainant testified that after the show, they ran into Hoggard backstage and he repeatedly tried to touch her buttocks as they took photos together. He also said that he tried to kiss his neck at one point. Hoggard testified that it did not happen, and that the complainant was the one who jumped into his arms.

Sometime over the next few months, the couple began exchanging nude photos, the court heard.

The complainant testified that Hoggard told her that he loved her, that he saw a future with her and that he wanted her to have children. The singer testified that he lied because he enjoyed the validation and wanted to have sex with the complainant once he turned 16.

The whistleblower said the two eventually made plans to meet up in Toronto in September. She testified that she did not plan or want to have sex that day and thought that while Hoggard might try to kiss her, she would respect her boundaries if she said no.

The court heard that Hoggard sent a car to pick her up and take her to her hotel near Pearson International Airport on September 30. The defense argued that the plaintiff knew where she was going.

Once there, the complainant said Hoggard aggressively kissed her, then pushed her onto the bed, stripped off her clothes, performed oral sex on her, and then repeatedly raped her vaginally and orally. She said that he also tried to do it anally, but was unsuccessful.

The complainant said she texted a friend while Hoggard was in the shower, asking her to call and pretend it was her job so she would have an excuse to leave early. She testified that Hoggard then called the driver and walked her down, saying that he had a great time and that he couldn’t wait to see her again.

Telephone records presented to the court show that the complainant called her friend at 1:26 p.m. that day, and the driver’s log indicated that they left the hotel around 1 p.m.

The defense suggested that the plaintiff did not pretend to be called to work, but that Hoggard asked her to leave, which hurt her feelings. Prosecutors argued that the complainant may not remember the exact timeline, but she insisted that she contacted her friend in an effort to get out of the hotel.

The court heard that the second plaintiff met Hoggard on the dating app Tinder in early November. She eventually agreed to travel to Toronto later that month to have sex with him, the woman testified.

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Once they got to a room, the woman testified that he immediately pushed her against the wall and forced her to kiss her, and when she pushed him away, he told her she could go.

She said she found it rude, but thought things would eventually be okay, adding that she didn’t consider leaving because she had nowhere to go until her train ride back to Ottawa.

Later, however, she testified that Hoggard pushed her onto the bed, stripped off her clothes, and repeatedly anally, orally, and vaginally raped her.

Finally, he told her he had to go and she took a taxi to Tim Hortons to wait for her train, he said. Hoggard told her that they had a good time and that he hoped to see her again, she said.

Hoggard testified that he didn’t really have to go, he just wanted to get on with his day and had no intention of seeing her again.

At some point, the whistleblower texted Hoggard. He said that she told him that he had raped her; Hoggard maintained that she told him that she was not happy with meeting her.

They spoke on the phone in the following days. Hoggard testified that he recorded the call to protect himself.

In the call, which was played in court, Hoggard spoke in a reassuring tone, telling the complainant that he was surprised by her text message, that he had been attentive and that they had a good time.

The whistleblower, sounding hoarse, told him they had different opinions and repeatedly accused him of speaking from a script.

She told Hoggard that she needed stitches in her vagina and that she planned to speak to an attorney, claims she acknowledged on the stand were untrue. She told the court that she lied on the call to get a reaction and, she hoped, an apology from him.

The defense argued that although both complainants said they had genital bleeding and bruising after the encounters, no injuries were recorded in their medical records.

Both whistleblowers reported their allegations to police in early 2018, and Hoggard was charged that summer.

The musician has recently been charged with sexual assault with bodily harm against a third complainant in an incident that allegedly took place in Kirkland Lake, Ontario on June 25, 2016. Hedley played at the Kirkland Lake Homecoming festival on June 24 that year. .

The new charge could not be reported until jurors in the Toronto trial began their deliberations to avoid the risk of contaminating the jury.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 5, 2022.

Paola Loriggio, Canadian Press