Prosecution Issues Closing Arguments in Jacob Hoggard Sexual Assault Trial

Crown prosecutor Jill Witkin argues that Hoggard "just didn't feel like he needed to take no for an answer"

Photo: police handout

BY Allie GregoryPublished May 27, 2022

This morning, Jacob Hoggard's defence offered its closing arguments in his sexual assault trial, and now the Crown's prosecutor Jill Witkin has also shared a closing address to the jury. The jury will reconvene to begin deliberations on Tuesday (May 31).

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.

Countering points made by Hoggard's lawyer Megan Savard, who argued that the complainants' testimonies were inconsistent and Hoggard did not premeditate any sexual assaults against them in 2016 or ever, Witkin argued that evidence shows Hoggard "just didn't feel like he needed to take no for an answer," when engaging in sexual acts with the two women, one of whom was just 16 years old at the time of the alleged encounters, the Toronto Star's Alyshah Sanmati Hasham reports.

Witkin reiterated the claim that Hoggard sexually touched the teen accuser when she was 15 years old, groping her backstage at a Hedley concert at the ACC (now Scotiabank Arena). Witkin stated that the younger complainant met up with Hoggard after the alleged groping because she didn't want to judge him on that act alone. Prosecution argued that the former Hedley frontman engaged in sexually charged communication with the teen, texting her the next day: "I wish you stayed," and, "I want you in this bed so bad."

At a subsequent encounter, Witkin said, Hoggard met up with the complainant at a hotel where he raped her, spat in her mouth, held her face into a pillow to the point that she could not breathe, and prevented her from using her phone.

The second complainant's testimony mirrors the first's, Witkins continued, restating the claim that Hoggard raped her, spat in her mouth, slapped her, called her derogatory names, made pig noises, choked her, dragged her by her legs to a hotel bathroom and took her phone, among other things. These events caused the woman to bruise, bleed and develop a limp, and caused pain and crying fits in the weeks after, according to friends, Witkin said. 

Responding to Savard's statement about inconsistencies in testimonies, Witkin argued that trauma affects memory and recall, a psychological theory that is upheld by the Canadian Department of Justice.

Hoggard has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one of sexual interference relating to the allegations of sexually touching 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.

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