Jurors in Hoggard trial ask questions about consent and consider other testimony

Jurors in the sexual assault trial of Canadian musician Jacob Hoggard asked more questions related to consent on Sunday as deliberations continued for a sixth day.

The jury asked the judge to explain how a complainant’s words and actions could be used to attempt to raise a reasonable doubt about her testimony about her state of mind at the time of the alleged incident without relying on stereotypes and assumptions about how sexual assault victims should behave.

He asked for examples related to the second complainant, an Ottawa woman who met Hoggard on the dating app Tinder in November 2016 and traveled to Toronto later that month.

The jury also sought clarification on what would amount to genuine, rather than willful, ignorance of a plaintiff’s lack of consent.

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Hoggard, the lead singer of the band Hedley, pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one of sexual interference, a charge that refers to sexual touching of a person under the age of 16.

The Crown alleges he groped a teenage fan after a Hedley performance in April 2016, then violently raped her at a Toronto-area hotel in September, after she turned 16.

Prosecutors allege he also violently raped a young Ottawa woman in late November 2016 at a downtown Toronto hotel.

Both complainants testified that they cried and said no throughout the encounters, and that they were bleeding and bruising afterwards.

The defense argues that the groping did not occur and that the sexual encounters were consensual.

Hoggard testified during the trial that although he has no detailed recollection of the encounters, he is satisfied that the plaintiffs consented based on their verbal and non-verbal cues.

In her answers to jurors on Sunday, Ontario Superior Court Judge Gillian Roberts said she could not provide specific examples of how to assess the second plaintiff’s evidence for fear of interfere with their fact-finding process, but that it could remind them of some “general legal propositions”. ” On the question.

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Roberts first repeated his instructions not to make assumptions based on stereotypes about how an “ideal victim” should act.

“It is not a mistake to arrive at a factual conclusion which may logically reflect a stereotype if the factual conclusion is not drawn from a stereotypical inference but rather is based on evidence,” she said. .

She also said jurors could look at what the plaintiff said and did at the time and consider whether a “reasonable inference can be drawn that she consented”.

“Remember that a reasonable doubt should not be speculative. There must be something the complainant did or said from which a reasonable doubt about consent can be drawn,” she said.

As for the issue of actual or willful ignorance of the lack of consent, Roberts told jurors that did not apply.

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It is agreed that the issue in each case is whether the Crown has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the complainant did not consent to the sexual activity, she said.

If the jurors accept the plaintiffs’ testimony about what happened in the hotel room, that means they’ve rejected Hoggard’s testimony and accept that he knew the plaintiffs weren’t consenting, said the judge.

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Over the past two days, the jury has asked the court to replay much of the testimony given by the two plaintiffs and by Hoggard.

This is after jurors twice indicated they were deadlocked on “some” of the counts.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Lance B. Holton