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An Ontario judge imposed stricter bail conditions on Jacob Hoggard on Monday, a day after the Hedley frontman was found guilty of sexual assault causing bodily harm against an Ottawa woman but not guilty of the same offence against a teenage fan.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Gillian Roberts acknowledged the “prospect of a lengthy jail term significantly increases the incentive to flee,” and cited the need to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice.
However, she said both the flight risk and the “current strong public interest in accountability” could be addressed through tighter restrictions rather than revoking Hoggard’s bail until he is sentenced, as prosecutors requested. Sentencing is expected to take place this summer.
Under the new terms, Hoggard must live at his Vancouver home or another preapproved address and be home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., except in the case of family emergencies or approved commitments.
He must also remain in British Columbia, except for court appearances in Toronto, and submit to regular check-ins and random compliance checks. The singer is also barred from contacting either of the complainants in the case.
Hoggard’s wife, who has also pledged $200,000 for his bail, is one of two sureties selected to monitor his compliance.
That amount is “sufficient to focus Mr. Hoggard’s attention on the need to comply with the terms of release and attend court, otherwise he risks visiting the hardship of losing this money on his wife and, by extension, his son,” Roberts said.
The 37-year-old musician had pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm — one related to each complainant — and one count of sexual interference, a charge that refers to the sexual touching of someone under 16.
In a statement issued late Monday afternoon, Hoggard’s lawyer said the singer is “disappointed” with Sunday’s verdict but “grateful that the jury rightfully acquitted him” on the charges related to the younger complainant.
“While the verdict is not what Mr. Hoggard hoped, we thank the jury for its diligence and careful attention, and its recognition of the fact that the evidence on some counts was too frail and dangerous to support a conviction,” Megan Savard wrote.
During trial, prosecutors alleged Hoggard violently and repeatedly raped the two complainants in separate incidents in the fall of 2016. They also alleged he groped the teen after a Hedley concert in April 2016, when she was 15.
The two women testified Hoggard slapped them, spit in their mouths and called them derogatory names during the encounters, which took place in Toronto-area hotels. They also said he restricted their breathing at one point. Both complainants testified they were bleeding, bruised and sore afterwards.
The Crown highlighted the similarities between the complainants’ accounts, noting the two women have never met or spoken to each other.
Hoggard took the stand in his own defence, telling jurors he had consensual, “passionate” sex with the complainants. He also testified he didn’t touch the teen sexually until after she turned 16, adding he made a point to know when her 16th birthday was.
The musician said some of the acts described by the complainants, including slapping and spitting, were among his sexual preferences and could have happened, though he didn’t remember if they did. He said the slapping was more of a gentle tapping, however.
Hoggard also denied restricting the complainants’ breathing, saying that was not among his sexual preferences.
While the singer acknowledged his memory of the encounters wasn’t detailed, he maintained he knew the complainants were consenting based on their verbal and non-verbal cues.
The defence argued the complainants made up the rape allegations because they were upset that Hoggard, a “rock star” who had frequent one-night stands while touring, had rejected them.
The case turned on consent, and jurors asked several questions related to that legal issue during their six days of deliberations. They delivered a verdict Sunday evening.
Hoggard was also charged in March with sexual assault causing bodily harm in another incident alleged to have taken place in June 2016 in Kirkland Lake, Ont. Hedley played the Kirkland Lake Homecoming festival on June 24, 2016.
The singer has denied the allegation through his lawyer and indicated he plans to plead not guilty.
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