Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard denies rape allegations at sex assault trial
Canadian musician Jacob Hoggard has emphatically denied raping a teenager and a young woman nearly six years ago, testifying Tuesday that both encounters were consensual and "passionate."
Taking the stand in his own defence at his sex assault trial, Hoggard, 37, acknowledged that certain acts alleged to have taken place during the two 2016 encounters -- including spitting, slapping and calling the complainants "slut" and "whore" -- could have happened because they were among his sexual preferences.
But he denied touching either of the complainants without their consent, or that the complainants cried or said no during the encounters. He also denied touching the younger complainant, a longtime fan he first met when she was 12, in a sexual way before she turned 16.
"I knew when she turned 16 ... I just wanted to know," Hoggard told the court.
When asked why he wanted to know, he said: "To be responsible and not break the law... I'm pretty sure the age of consent in Canada is 16 years old."
Hoggard, the frontman for the band Hedley, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one of sexual interference, a charge that relates to the sexual touching of a person under 16.
It's an agreed fact in the case that Hoggard arranged to have each of the complainants meet him at Toronto-area hotels on two separate occasions in the fall of 2016.
Prosecutors allege that, once at the hotel, Hoggard violently and repeatedly raped the complainants, leaving them bleeding and bruised.
Both women have testified they cried and said no during the encounters. The younger complainant also said she tried to resist physically but Hoggard pinned her down.
That complainant, who is now in her early 20s, also alleges Hoggard groped her backstage after a show at what is now the Scotiabank Arena in late April 2016, when she was still 15.
In his testimony Tuesday, Hoggard recalled enjoying the attention he received after the band rose to fame in 2004, noting it became much easier for him to meet women.
One-night stands became commonplace while touring, even when he was in a relationship, the singer said, adding he built up a significant roster of sexual partners in various cities. It was "difficult" to be faithful and easier to "just enjoy the attention," he said.
It would be fairly common for him to arrange transportation through a travel agent to bring women to his hotel while on tour, he said.
He started communicating directly with the first complainant after seeing her at a meet-and-greet event after a Toronto-area concert in April 2016, Hoggard said.
They began exchanging messages through text and apps such as Snapchat after that night and later that month, Hoggard invited her and some friends to come to a Hedley show in Toronto, he said. Court has heard he arranged to have a limo pick up the complainant and her friends and drive them back later.
He testified that after the show, the complainant ran up to him and jumped into his arms. They took some photos and had a video call with her mom, and were together about 20 minutes, said.
They messaged each other afterwards and the next day, Hoggard sent her a text that said "I want you in this bed so bad," he said, adding he believed it was the first sexual message they exchanged.
Under cross-examination, Hoggard agreed it was possible he sent that text to gauge the complainant's response.
Crown attorney Kelly Slate then suggested Hoggard also groped the complainant's buttocks after the show for the same reason -- to test her reaction.
"Absolutely not," he replied.
Hoggard testified that his exchanges with the complainant grew sexual over the spring and summer but had a "romantic edge," that he told her he loved her and saw a future with her even though it wasn't true. He described the relationship as not "overly meaningful."
The singer agreed with the Crown that he initially made plans to meet the complainant in Toronto to sightsee or "something along those lines," but that those plans fell through. Prosecutors questioned why he would make plans to spend a day with someone he saw only as a prospective sexual partner and asked whether Hoggard had intended to have sex with the complainant that day.
"I don't think so," he said.
When they did meet up that September, Hoggard testified the plan was for them to have sex. He sent a limo to pick her up, brought her to his hotel, and they had "passionate" sex for one to two hours, he said. Then, feeling that the encounter had run its course, he called the limo to take her home and escorted her out of the hotel, he said.
Slate noted it was the first time Hoggard and the complainant had been alone together, and that Hoggard's sexual preferences would be "unusual" for a 16-year-old.
"In that one to two hours she's with you, you engaged in a bunch of sexual actsΓÇª and in that time period, you built up enough trust with (the complainant), who you've just met, for her to consent to those acts?" she asked.
"Yes," Hoggard said.
Slate suggested Hoggard simply assumed the complainant was consenting, but the singer said he was paying attention to verbal and non-verbal cues.
Hoggard acknowledged he doesn't remember the details of the encounter, or the one with the second complainant, which took place in November 2016.
He testified the second complainant took the train from Ottawa and met him at a hotel in downtown Toronto. His usual room wasn't ready, so they went to a different room first and kissed, he said. He denied forcing a kiss on the complainant, but said she told him to slow down and he indicated she could leave if she wanted to.
He then went to get a coffee and when he returned, the other room was ready, he said. They went to the other room and engaged in "fun, exciting" sex, he said.
In her cross-examination, Slate suggested Hoggard assumed the complainant was consenting because she didn't leave when he went for a coffee. He agreed that was part of it, but said she also gave verbal and non-verbal cues as they were having sex.
"I was very aware of the level of enjoyment she had," he said.
A few days later, the complainant sent him a text indicating she wasn't happy with their time together, which shocked and scared him, he testified. They exchanged messages, and Hoggard acknowledged there was a lot of "romantic affection" in those texts even though he only saw the complainant as a one-night stand.
Eventually, they talked on the phone -- a call Hoggard recorded without informing the complainant, he said under cross-examination. In that call, which court has heard, the complainant tells him she was injured during the encounter and repeatedly suggests he is following a script to protect himself.
The musician agreed he chose his words carefully during the call but denied using a script. Hoggard also agreed that though he told the complainant during the call that he cared for her and would be there for her, that wasn't true.
Hoggard further agreed he lied about his phone running out of power because he wanted to end the call. Afterwards, he blocked the complainant's number, he said.
He said he doesn't have any records of their text exchanges except a few screenshots he sent to a friend at the time, because he regularly deleted messages so his partner wouldn't find them.
Slate suggested that after each of the encounters, Hoggard messaged the complainants saying they'd had a wonderful time together.
"Regardless of what happened in the hotel with both (the first and second complainants), sending those messages afterwards, you're trying to make it seem like everything's fine... that nothing unusual happened in the hotel room," she said.
"Certainly nothing unusual did happen in the hotel room," he said.
Hoggard is expected to return to the stand Wednesday. The defence has said it also plans to call as a witness a limo driver who drove the younger complainant to meet Hoggard.
Neither of the complainants can be identified under a publication ban, nor can several other witnesses.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2022.
Toronto Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Patrick Brown is alleging political corruption played a role in his disqualification from the Conservative Party of Canada's leadership race, a move that came following allegations that his campaign violated election financing rules.
Despite being disqualified by the Conservative Party of Canada from becoming its next leader, ousted candidate Patrick Brown's name will still appear on the ballot.
Video has emerged showing a worker dangling in the air above a Toronto construction site after accidently getting entangled in a tagline attached to a crane.
The federal government has no intention of dropping the controversial ArriveCan app because it gives the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) key health information about travellers who test positive for COVID-19 through testing at airports and land borders, senior government sources tell CTV News.
Air Canada and Toronto's Pearson airport again claimed the top spots for flight delays on Tuesday, marking at least four days in a row where the country's biggest airline has placed No. 1 of any large carrier worldwide.
Air Canada said on Wednesday it will not allow animals in the baggage hold until Sept. 12 due to 'longer than usual' delays at airports, as carriers and airports wrestle with complaints over lost luggage and long lines.
As gas prices slightly trend down this week after some of the highest national averages seen in recent months, some Canadians may be thinking twice before planning their usual summer road trip plans. CTVNews.ca looks at how drivers can save at the pumps while travelling.
Prices have been easing slightly recently, but affording a mortgage is still a very difficult task for many Canadians. How much of a mortgage can you afford? Contributor Christopher Liew breaks it down in an exclusive column for CTVNews.ca.
A federal judge Wednesday sentenced Jerry Harris, a former star of the Netflix documentary series 'Cheer,' to 12 years in prison for coercing teenage boys to send him obscene photos and videos of themselves and soliciting sex from minors at cheerleading competitions.
WATCH LIVE @ 9 A.M.
WATCH LIVE @ 9 A.M. | With another COVID climb, Quebec health minister calls news conference for Thursday morning
With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise in Quebec, public health officials have called a news conference for Thursday morning.
'Not a time when Quebec can afford to lose young doctors,' province's opposition leader says of ER exodus
The leader of Quebec's Liberal Party paused her vacation briefly on Wednesday to react to the news that two young emergency room doctors have quit their jobs in their hometown of Montreal to work in Toronto.
A prominent Montreal drag queen who recently faced pressure from critics over library readings to young children says her storytime events scheduled for the fall were abruptly called off for unknown reasons.
Once again due to staff shortages, the emergency departments at both Listowel and Wingham hospitals will be closed overal several upcoming dates.
Provincial police have identified the victim of a deadly motorcycle collision that occurred earlier this week.
The victim of a fatal head on collision earlier this week in Blandford-Blenheim has been identified as a 41-year-old man from Plattsville.
Break-ins targeting restaurants, salons, dress shops and cannabis stores have been reported in Kitchener, Waterloo and Woolwich.
'There’s no great answer': Low-income tenants weigh options in Cambridge as renovations push them out
Tenants of the Tiger Lofts, an affordable apartment building in Cambridge, say they’re being “renovicted” and won’t be allowed to stay after extensive renovations.
Police are looking for a man who allegedly grabbed and sexually assaulted a woman in a Kitchener park.
Christ the King Church in Sudbury is looking for your scrap vehicle.
Whether you’re looking for a change of pace, a breath of fresh air, or a glimpse into nature, northern Ontario has an outdoor oasis waiting to be discovered.
The chair of the Station Mall Merchants Association says news of the mall's sale to a southern Ontario holding company brings to a close years of uncertainty regarding the future of the property.
An Ottawa senior citizen says he lost his life savings after investing with a real estate development firm that has been charged with fraud.
Ottawa police are on the scene of a shooting that injured one person in the city's west end.
The penultimate day of the public hearings into Ottawa’s light rail transit system saw some sharp words from the train manufacturer.
Emergency crews were on scene after a pedestrian was struck by a train late Wednesday afternoon in east Chatham.
Shawn Lippert received a scary call Monday morning. “I got a guy on the other end and said, ‘Hi this is Enwin. We're giving you a courtesy call.’” Lippert was told his Scareshouse Windsor business account was in arrears and service was about to be cut off.
'Is your urgency an emergency?': Windsor-Essex hospital officials appeal to public to reduce hospital and EMS wait times
With the hospital system in Windsor-Essex continuing to operate under tremendous pressure, healthcare leaders are asking residents to reserve calling 911 for emergency situations only, and to seek alternate care for non-medical emergencies.
Farmers in southern Ontario say they are fed up with a selfie fad that has caused thousands of dollars in damages.
School buses may be parked for the summer, but come fall, they will be equipped with a new lighting system to catch drivers' attention.
Strawberry pickers at Barrie Hill Farms saw more than fresh berries when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited.
A person has been taken to hospital with serious injuries following a shooting in Halifax Wednesday night.
Halifax Regional Police and fire crews are investigating after receiving reports of a missing swimmer in Dartmouth.
The ex-boyfriend of Cassidy Bernard has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for manslaughter and a consecutive three years for child abandonment in connection with the young mother's death.
Police are investigating after receiving reports of shots fired late Wednesday afternoon in Bankview.
Ward 2 councillor Jennifer Wyness asked council to consider referring veteran colleague Gian-Carlo Carra's disclosure investigation findings to both the minister and police for further review.
Calgary drivers might be asking why the price of gasoline is more expensive in their energy rich province where oil is refined and extracted than in Ontario, but one retail expert claims to have the answer.
A political breakup at Winnipeg City Hall is creating intrigue in a council race.
A community organization is proposing a network of cameras in an effort to bolster safety throughout the area.
Residents in a southern Manitoba town are asking questions as to why they are facing a summer with no emergency room.
Someone in British Columbia could be sitting on a lottery ticket worth a whopping $15 million – but there's only a few weeks left to claim the jackpot.
For the second consecutive day, emergency resolutions related to a conflict between the Assembly of First Nations National Chief and the organization's executive council threw the agenda into chaos.
The large logs that have lined the water’s edge at many Vancouver beaches have been a favourite lounging spot for sun worshipers for over 50 years.
Wade Stene, who admitted to kidnapping and sexually assaulting an eight-year-old Edmonton girl, was sentenced to 15.5 years behind bars Wednesday afternoon.
Emergency crews were called to a Mill Woods school on Wednesday after a security guard reportedly experienced irritation on their hands after finding a white powder.
With temperatures set to rise in Edmonton next week, the city has set up water taps at 13 fire hydrants.