WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect people who have experienced sexual violence or know someone who has been affected by it.
Canadian rock musician Jacob Hoggard has been found guilty of assault with bodily harm after violently raping an Ottawa woman in late 2016, but a Toronto jury acquitted him of assaulting a 16-year-old fan.
The former Hedley frontman was also acquitted of one charge of sexual interference, a misdemeanor that refers to touching anyone under 16. The charge stemmed from a claim that the musician had groped the younger complainant at one of his concerts when she 15.
Hoggard, 37, pleaded not guilty to all three charges, and his trial began in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on May 5, after multiple delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Judge Gillian Roberts gave his instructions to the jury on Tuesday. The deliberations lasted more than 40 hours before the jury returned on Sunday with a decision.
A conviction for assault carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years; there is no minimum penalty unless a firearm is involved or the complainant is under 16 years of age.
The musician has also been charged with a third count of assault with bodily harm, information that was only released publicly on Tuesday to ensure the jury was unaffected by the new charges.
Earlier this month, the court heard testimony that Hoggard repeatedly raped a young woman and a teenage fan in hotel rooms in the Toronto area in the fall of 2016.
Both women testified that they cried and said no during the encounters, leaving them bleeding, bruised and painful.
In her closing statement, Attorney Jill Witkin noted that Hoggard testified that he was certain that both complainants consented to their sexual encounters, but he could not say how they expressed that consent and had no detailed recollections of what happened.
The Ottawa woman told the court that she agreed to meet Hoggard in Toronto to have sex on Nov. 22, 2016. But instead of having consensual sex, she was raped anally, vaginally and orally and at one point on her legs. dragged to the bathroom. she told the court.
Both complainants testified that Hoggard spat in their mouths, beat them and called them derogatory names. The Ottawa woman testified that Hoggard strangled her so hard that she feared for her life.
In his testimony, the musician told the court that he had “passionate” sex with each of the complainants.
He acknowledged that some of the acts the women described — including spitting, hitting and naming profane names — may have happened because they were part of his sexual repertoire.
Since he was first charged with sexual assault in 2018, Hoggard’s music career has imploded and Hedley is no longer together. He said he now works as a carpenter and is married with a young son.
There is support for anyone who has been sexually abused. This gives you access to crisis lines and local support services Government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database† If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, call 112.