Jacob Hoggard's Defence Issues Closing Arguments in Sexual Assault Trial

He faces two charges of sexual assault causing bodily harm, and one charge of sexual interference
Jacob Hoggard's Defence Issues Closing Arguments in Sexual Assault Trial
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Jacob Hoggard's defence has issued its closing arguments to the jury of his sexual assault trial in court today, and prosecutors are expected to follow later in the day.

The following article contains potentially triggering material relating to sexual assault and violence. If you believe you have experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct and are looking for support, consult the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime to find resources in your area.

The Hedley frontman's defence argued against two complainants' allegations of violent and repeated rapes, as well as an incident of groping of one of the complainants, who was under the age of 16 at the time.

Hoggard has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one of sexual interference relating to allegations of sexual touching of a person under the age of 16. He has admitted that certain acts described by his accusers — including spitting, slapping and calling them derogatory names — could have occurred, as they coincide with his sexual preferences.

Hoggard's lawyer Megan Savard argued that "what he did may not be something he is proud of, but it is within the bounds of the law," Toronto Star court reporter Alyshah Sanmati Hasham reports, noting that he made attempts to delay sexual contact with the younger complainant until she was 16, the age of consent in Canada.

"If he were the unapologetic, aware criminal, the knowing rapist the Crown says he is, [then] the evidence in this case would not be what it was," Savard argued, adding that the musician didn't take steps to protect himself from legal retaliation — freely giving out his real phone number, name, using hotel rooms and limo drivers around the time of the encounters — because he considered them to be consensual. "There is no right or wrong way to engage in consensual sex," she said.

The defence further moved to discredit the complainants' testimonies, at one point saying the teen complainant's claim that Hoggard held her down while ejaculating "four times" over the course of an hour was a physical impossibility. The defence proceeded to ask the jury to look to other inconsistencies in both complainants and their witnesses' testimonies as reasons not to convict. 

The Crown is expected to deliver its closing arguments after lunch.