Peter Nygard denied bail on Toronto sex assault, forcible confinement charges

·3 min read
This sketch shows Peter Nygard as he appeared at the bail decision hearing on Jan. 19, 2022, via video from the Toronto South Detention Centre, where he is being held.  (Pam Davies - image credit)
This sketch shows Peter Nygard as he appeared at the bail decision hearing on Jan. 19, 2022, via video from the Toronto South Detention Centre, where he is being held. (Pam Davies - image credit)

Former fashion mogul Peter Nygard will remain in custody after a Toronto judge denied him bail on charges of sexual assault and forcible confinement.

Nygard, who once ran his international fashion business from Winnipeg, is charged with six counts of sexual assault and three of forcible confinement related to six people in Toronto.

Ontario justice of the peace John Scarfe denied Nygard's request for bail Wednesday during a virtual hearing, which Nygard attended over Zoom from the Toronto South Detention Centre.

CBC News cannot report the reasons for the decision because they fall under a publication ban that's been placed on information that arises during the bail hearing. The publication ban will remain in place until the conclusion of a trial or the case gets dismissed.

Nygard also faces extradition to the United States on nine sex-related charges in New York.

In custody since December 2020

Last year, Nygard waived an extradition hearing and agreed to a ministerial review of the extradition by federal Justice Minister David Lametti, who will decide whether Nygard's extradition will await the outcome of the Canadian charges or if he will face the U.S. charges on condition that he be returned to Canada.

Nygard, 80, has been in custody since being arrested in Winnipeg in December 2020.

A Manitoba judge previously denied Nygard bail in February 2021 on the U.S. charges. Justice Shawn Greenberg said she was not satisfied that the bail plan laid out by Nygard's defence lawyers would ensure he would not contact witnesses or have others contact them.

Nygard's defence appealed the decision, but Manitoba's Court of Appeal dismissed the case. Nygard then sought to have his bail case heard by the Supreme Court, which rejected his application.

The U.S. charges relate to what the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York alleges is "a decades-long pattern of criminal conduct involving at least dozens of victims in the United States, the Bahamas and Canada, among other locations."

Nygard faces charges of sex trafficking and racketeering conspiracy.

The same day Nygard consented to the ministerial review of his extradition case, Toronto police arrested him on the Canadian charges and transported him to Ontario.

The charges of sexual assault and forcible confinement in the Toronto case relate to incidents that allegedly happened between late 1987 and 2006.

Last month, an investigation by CBC's Fifth Estate learned that Manitoba prosecutors declined to charge Nygard after a 10-month investigation by Winnipeg police into allegations of sexual assault from eight women in that city.

That investigation also revealed details about how Nygard avoided prosecution in Winnipeg despite multiple complaints to the police, going back as far as 1968, when Winnipeg police charged him with a sexual offence.

Nygard would have been in his 20s at the time.

The charges were dropped after the woman refused to testify.

Class-action lawsuit on hold

In 1980, Nygard was charged with rape in Winnipeg, and again the charges were withdrawn when the woman refused to testify.

In February 2020, a class-action lawsuit was filed in New York accusing Nygard of rape, sexual assault and human trafficking, with some allegations going back as far as 1977.

That lawsuit is on hold until the criminal case against Nygard has concluded.

Nygard amassed a fortune after founding the women's clothing company Nygard International, which filed for bankruptcy in 2020.

None of the allegations against Nygard have been proven in court, and he has maintained his innocence.

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