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

TORONTO (AP) — Jacob Hoggard, frontman for the Canadian gang Hedley, was convicted of sexual assault with bodily harm against an Ottawa woman, but was acquitted of the same charge against a teenage fan.

Hoggard, 37, was also found not guilty of sexual interference, a charge that relates to sexually touching someone under the age of 16, in an incident involving the same fan when she was 15.

The singer, who was wearing a dark suit, hugged his wife in the courtroom after reading the verdict. She wiped away her tears after he returned to her seat.

Prosecutors alleged that Hoggard groped the teen after a Hedley show in Toronto in April 2016, then violently raped her in a Toronto-area hotel room later that year after she turned 16. They alleged that he then violently raped the Ottawa woman at a 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.

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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 teenager until she was 16 years old.

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

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.

The jury, which appeared to be comprised of 10 men and two women, began deliberating last Tuesday and twice indicated it was deadlocked on “some” counts. Each time, jurors were asked to keep trying. They went on to replay most of the testimony given by the two whistleblowers and Hoggard, and asked various questions about legal issues, many related to consent.

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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 were told that if they found that the complainants did not consent, they should have “little difficulty” in concluding that Hoggard knowingly or willfully 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.

She said that Hoggard did not have a detailed recollection of the encounters at the heart of the trial because they were merely two of countless consensual dates he had had over the years.

The fact that he did not try to prevent the complainants from leaving the hotel, or pressure them to keep the encounters secret, is far more consistent with consensual sex than violent rape, Savard argued.

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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.

Prosecutor Jill Witkin argued in her final filings 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.

None of the whistleblowers wanted what happened in those hotel rooms, but Hoggard did and acted accordingly, he alleged.

The Crown also argued that Hoggard had a history of lying his way out of sticky situations, as he had with whistleblowers and romantic partners he had cheated on.

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

Paola Loriggio, Canadian Press