Former Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard's defence team hints at appeal

·3 min read
Jacob Hoggard was found guilty of one count of sexual assault. Here, he leaves court in Toronto on Sunday with his wife Rebekah Asselstine, centre, and lawyer Megan Savard, right, following his conviction. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Jacob Hoggard was found guilty of one count of sexual assault. Here, he leaves court in Toronto on Sunday with his wife Rebekah Asselstine, centre, and lawyer Megan Savard, right, following his conviction. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press - image credit)

WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced sexual violence or know someone affected by it.

The legal team behind rock musician Jacob Hoggard suggested on Monday he will appeal his conviction for sexual assault causing bodily harm, which was handed down yesterday by a Toronto jury.

The former Hedley frontman was convicted on the single charge, for raping an Ottawa woman in the fall of 2016, and acquitted on two other sex-related charges involving a 16-year-old fan. Hoggard, 37, had pleaded not guilty to all three charges, and his trial began in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on May 5.

His legal team hinted at an appeal in a statement. Defence lawyer Megan Savard said Hoggard "looks forward to the next steps in the criminal process."

"This case is far from over. It raises novel issues that will benefit from the Court of Appeal's attention," Savard said.

Earlier Monday, Justice Gillian Roberts ordered new bail conditions for Hoggard, including that he remain in British Columbia, except for when he is required to travel to Toronto for court appearances, and cannot have a passport.

His wife, Rebekah Asselstine, will act as one of two sureties, and provide a $200,000 pledge to ensure he complies with his bail conditions.

Hoggard must reside at his family's home in Vancouver, or at another pre-approved address with one of his sureties. He is subject to a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., with random virtual compliance checks.

Hoggard is due back in court on Friday at 2:15 p.m. ET for a sentencing date to be set.

'Extremely high' stakes 

A conviction for sexual assault carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years; there is no minimum sentence unless a firearm is involved or the complainant is younger than 16.

The Crown had requested Hoggard's bail be revoked following his conviction, but Savard argued that it would be easier for Hoggard to prepare for his sentencing if he remained on bail.

WATCH | Hoggard found guilty on 1 charge:

Roberts acknowledged that Hoggard was a heightened flight risk because he was facing a significant sentence of imprisonment.

However, she said his strong ties to his community, as well as the fact he has a young son, is working in Vancouver, and his wife's financial pledge, were sufficient to ensure he would comply with the terms of his release and attend court.

"The stakes are extremely high for Mr. Hoggard. I believe he should be put in the best position as is possible in the circumstances to prepare for sentencing," Roberts told the court hearing, which was held over Zoom.

Denies latest allegation

Hoggard is now facing a new count of sexual assault causing bodily harm, related to an alleged incident involving a third complainant in Kirkland Lake, Ont., in June 2016.

"Mr. Hoggard looks forward to defending against the outstanding charge. He has denied this allegation and will plead not guilty," Savard said in the statement.

"He has no further comment, as this case is before the courts. What we have to say will be said in a court of law."

Hoggard is scheduled to appear in court on the latest charge on Aug. 4.

Support is available for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. If you're in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.

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