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An Ontario judge on Monday imposed tougher bail conditions on Jacob Hoggard, a day after the Hedley frontman was found guilty of assaulting an Ottawa woman but not guilty of the same offense against a teenage fan.
Ontario Supreme Court judge Gillian Roberts acknowledged that “the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence greatly increases the incentive to flee,” citing the need to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice.
She said, however, that both the flight risk and the “current strong public interest in liability” could be addressed by tougher restrictions rather than revoking Hoggard’s bail until he is convicted, as prosecutors requested. The verdict is expected to take place this summer.
Jacob Hoggard found guilty of assaulting a complainant
Under the new terms, Hoggard must live at his home in Vancouver or another pre-approved address and be home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., except in the case of family emergencies or approved obligations.
He must also remain in British Columbia, except in the Toronto courts, and submit to regular check-ins and random compliance checks. The singer is also not allowed to contact any of the complainants in the case.
Hoggard’s wife, who has also pledged $200,000 for his bail, is one of two guarantors selected to oversee his compliance.
That amount is “enough to draw Mr Hoggard’s attention to the need to meet the terms of release and go to court, otherwise he risks the hardship of losing this money to his wife and, at extension, his son,” said Roberts.
The 37-year-old musician pleaded not guilty to two charges of assault with bodily harm — one related to each complainant — and one charge of sexual interference, a charge that refers to sexually touching anyone under the age of 16.
Jacob Hoggard found guilty of 1 of 3 sexual assault charges
In a statement released late Monday afternoon, Hoggard’s lawyer said the singer is “disappointed” with Sunday’s verdict, but is “grateful that the jury rightly acquitted him” of the charges related to the younger complainant.
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“While the verdict is not what Mr Hoggard had hoped, we thank the jury for its diligence and careful consideration, and acknowledgment that the evidence was too weak and dangerous in some respects to support a conviction,” wrote Megan Savard.
At trial, prosecutors alleged that Hoggard had repeatedly and violently raped the two complainants in separate incidents in late 2016. They also alleged that he groped the teen after a Hedley concert in April 2016, when she was 15.
The two women testified that Hoggard beat them, spit in their mouths and called them derogatory names during the encounters, which took place in hotels in the Toronto area. They also said that at one point he restricted their breathing. Both complainants testified that they bled, bruised and were painful afterwards.
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The Crown emphasized the similarities between the complainants’ reports and noted that the two women never met or spoke to each other.
Hoggard took the position in his own defense, telling the jurors that he had “passionate” sex with the complainants by mutual consent. He also testified that he only sexually touched the teen after she turned 16, adding that he made a point of knowing when her 16th birthday was.
The musician said some of the acts described by the complainants, including hitting and spitting, were part of his sexual preferences and could have happened, although he did not remember whether they did. However, he said the hitting was more of a soft tap.
Hoggard trial judges ask consent questions, view more testimonials
Hoggard also denied that he had restricted the complainants’ breathing, saying that this was not part of his sexual preferences.
While the singer admitted his recollection of the encounters was not detailed, he insisted he knew the complainants agreed based on their verbal and non-verbal cues.
The defense argued that the complainants fabricated the rape allegations because they were angry that Hoggard, a “rock star” who often had one-night stands while touring, had turned them down.
The case revolved around consent, and jurors asked several questions related to that legal matter during their six-day deliberation. They made a statement on Sunday evening.
Hoggard was also charged in March with assault resulting in bodily harm in another incident allegedly taking place in Kirkland Lake, Ont, in June 2016. Hedley played at the Kirkland Lake Homecoming festival on June 24, 2016.
The singer has denied the allegation through his lawyer and has indicated that he intends to plead innocent.
© 2022 The Canadian Press