After twice telling a judge they were deadlocked on “some counts,” and being urged to continue, the jury deliberating whether Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard raped a teenage fan and young woman in 2016 spent Saturday re-listening to most of the testimony of both complainants.
Hoggard, 37, is charged with two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one count of sexual touching of a minor. The identities of both women are covered by a publication ban available to sexual assault complainants.
Hoggard is accused of groping a 15-year-old fan while backstage after a Hedley concert at the Air Canada Centre (now Scotiabank Arena) in April 2016, and of violently raping the fan, after she turned 16, in a hotel room near Pearson airport in September 2016. He is also accused of violently raping a young Ottawa woman in a downtown Toronto hotel room.
The jury has been permitted to consider whether similarities in the evidence of the two complainants, who have said they do not know each other and have never spoken, “defy coincidence.”
Hoggard denied sexually touching the fan and testified he had consensual sex with each complainant. His defence lawyer argued that many of the similarities can be explained by Hoggard’s specific sexual preferences.
The jury began deliberating on Tuesday afternoon. They first told the court they were deadlocked on some counts on Thursday morning and Superior Court Justice Gillian Roberts urged them to continue. On Friday afternoon, the jury again told the court they were deadlocked. At the request of both the Crown and the defence, Roberts once again asked the jury to continue trying to reach a unanimous verdict.
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The jury then took the unusual step of asking to hear all of the testimony of both complainants about the events in the hotel rooms and afterwards, as well as Hoggard’s testimony about the events involving the Ottawa complainant. They began hearing the testimony on Friday evening and continued for almost all of Saturday.
Court proceedings are audio-recorded but transcripts are not automatically produced, so juries only have the option to listen back to testimony in open court. They are not allowed to listen to the testimony in their jury room.
They will enter their sixth day of deliberations on Sunday.
The jury has been left with several possible verdicts:
- They could find Hoggard guilty or not guilty of sexual touching of a minor — the charge related to the allegation that Hoggard groped and tried to kiss the teenage fan when she was 15.
- They could find Hoggard not guilty or guilty of sexual assault causing bodily harm in relation to each complainant’s allegation of violent rape in a hotel room.
- They could also find Hoggard guilty of sexual assault without causing bodily harm — a finding that could mean they do not believe the injuries and psychological harm described by the complainant meet the standard for bodily harm.
- The jury could also be deadlocked on one, more or all of the charges — a hung jury. When a jury cannot come to a unanimous verdict on one or multiple charges, a mistrial is declared on those charges. The Crown would then decide if they want to prosecute on those charges a second time.
- A jury can also come to a verdict on some charges, but be deadlocked on others.
Juries do not give reasons for their decisions and it is a criminal offence for them to reveal what was discussed during their deliberations.
Alyshah Hasham is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and court for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @alysanmati
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