Warning: graphic content
Former Canadian pop-rock star Jacob Hoggard will be sentenced to prison on Thursday, but it’s unclear if he will actually be behind bars anytime soon.
Hours after Superior Court Judge Gillian Roberts was sentenced Thursday morning for the sexual assault causing bodily harm of a young Ottawa woman in a downtown Toronto hotel room in 2016, Hoggard will appear for a pending appeal hearing in the Ontario Court. call.
His defense requested a sentence of three to four years and the Crown six to seven years. On Thursday, Judge Roberts will first make factual findings about whether, as the young woman testified, Hoggard repeatedly raped her vaginally and anally, slapped her and choked her until until she thought she was going to die. The juries do not give reasons for their decision and the defense argued that the judge could conclude that Hoggard did not anally rape or strangle the woman, whose identity is covered by a publication ban, because her testimony does not was unreliable or exaggerated.
Roberts will then decide how long the 38-year-old should spend in prison.
The Hedley frontman has been on bail since his 2018 arrest and released on $215,000 bail pending his sentencing hearing. He is still facing another trial on a charge of sexual assault causing bodily harm related to another young woman at a music festival in Kirkland Lake in 2016.
Hoggard argues that he has a strong case for an appeal, a key element in deciding whether bail pending appeal should be granted. The Crown argues that the appeal is unlikely to succeed.
It could take several months or even years before an appeal decision is made.
Hoggard is simply seeking to “challenge the unsuccessful arguments presented at trial,” Crown Attorney Catherine Weiler wrote in court filings Monday.
Meanwhile, immediately releasing someone convicted of such a serious and violent offense would undermine public confidence in the justice system, she wrote, although she does not claim that Hoggard poses a “substantial risk”. for public safety.
Hoggard’s first ground of appeal is that the judge should not have allowed expert testimony from Dr. Lori Haskell, a longtime clinical psychologist who works with trauma victims, including assault survivors. sex, according to an affidavit submitted to the court by the defense. attorney Kally Ho, who represented Hoggard with Megan Savard.
Haskell was allowed to give the jury a “mini science lesson” that explained that a traumatic event like a sexual assault can cause a person to fight, run away or freeze, and affects the ability to reason rationally and to clearly remember all the details of what happened. . She did not offer an opinion on whether the complainants’ specific reactions, such as not fleeing the hotel room or not calling 911, meant they were telling the truth about what had happened. past.
The Crown was allowed to introduce this evidence to challenge social stereotypes about how ‘real’ sexual assault victims are, with the judge noting that the defense opted to have a jury trial, which could mean that common misconceptions about sexual assault and trauma may work in their favour.
However, Judge Roberts warned the jury not to use Haskell’s general evidence to determine whether or not the plaintiffs acted in a manner consistent with sexual assault – and cautioned them again after becoming alarmed when the Jury questions on the first of six days of deliberations have surfaced. to reveal that they were trying to do just that.
On the final day of deadlocked deliberations, the jury asked how the plaintiffs’ words and actions could be used so that they did not conflict with the judge’s directive not to make assumptions about how which a victim of sexual assault will act.
Lawyers for Hoggard argue that Haskell’s testimony could have been misused by the jury to “diagnose” the plaintiffs as “possible trauma survivors” and that the judge confused the jury by allowing the Crown and the defense to refer to the expert testimony to explain the reactions of the plaintiffs. in the concluding observations.
The defense also argues that Haskell’s testimony was unnecessary because the judge also instructed the jury not to trust stereotypes, that Haskell is biased as an advocate for sexual assault victims, and that ‘She is not qualified to be an expert in this field because she is not a neurobiologist or a researcher.
The Crown, however, argues that the fact that the jury ultimately acquitted Hoggard of sexually touching an underage fan and sexually assaulting her after she turned 16 shows they failed to “diagnose” the plaintiffs. The trial judge correctly applied the legal test for expert evidence in admitting a limited general science lesson about the effects of a traumatic event from a well-qualified expert, Weiler wrote.
This evidence was needed to explain the reason for not making assumptions about a person’s choices or reactions after traumatic evidence, information that is not yet well known even in the justice system, Weiler wrote. .
Hoggard’s attorneys also argue that the judge’s prosecution was biased against Hoggard and downplayed the inconsistencies in the Ottawa woman’s testimony, as well as he should have been allowed to have two separate trials, one for each plaintiff, due to the negative effect of the jury learned that Hoggard was sexually pursuing a 15-year-old super fan.
The content of the flirting text messages admitted to the trial – “I want you so badly in this bed”, he wrote to her when she was 15 – and the photos of the young fan posing with Hoggard after a concert at the age 12 year olds were “free”. ‘ and ‘inflammatory,’ Ho wrote.
The bail hearing is set for Thursday afternoon.
If you or someone you know is experiencing violence or sexual abuse, you can call the Abused Women’s Helpline at 416 863 0511 or 1 866 863 0511 or text #SAFE (#7233) on your Bell, Rogers, Fido or Telus mobile phone. More resources are available here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/sexual-violence
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