TORONTO — Prosecutors in Jacob Hoggard's sexual assault trial suggested Wednesday that the Hedley frontman lied about his encounters with a teenage fan and a young woman, pointing to several other instances in which he lied to get out of "difficult situations."
Over more than a day of testimony, Hoggard, 37, acknowledged he lied to the younger complainant in the weeks and months before their encounter at a hotel, telling her he loved her and floating the idea of marriage and a future together so that he could have sex with her.
Hoggard also agreed he lied to the second complainant – an Ottawa woman who was in her early 20s at the time – when he said he cared about her and was there for her as she sought an apology during a phone call a few days after their encounter. In fact, he didn't particularly enjoy her company and blocked her number after that call, he said.
He lied to the complainants to get them to leave his hotel room after each encounter, he told the court. And he lied to his partners, including his now wife, to hide his infidelity over more than a decade of touring with Hedley, deleting messages, sexual photos and videos, and saving women's numbers in his phone under men's names, he said.
In her cross-examination Wednesday, Crown attorney Kelly Slate suggested Hoggard's account of consensual sex with the complainants was just another lie.
"I'm only telling the truth right now," he replied.
Hoggard has pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one of sexual interference, a charge that refers to the sexual touching of someone under 16.
Prosecutors allege he violently and repeatedly raped two women, one of whom was 16 at the time, in two separate incidents in the fall of 2016. The complainants, who had travelled from out of town to meet him, were left bleeding and bruised, the Crown alleges.
The complainants have testified they cried and said no during the encounters, which took place in Toronto-area hotel rooms.
The younger complainant, who first met Hoggard because she was a longtime Hedley fan, testified he raped her vaginally and orally and attempted to do so anally in September 2016. She told the court she tried to fight him off at various points but was overpowered.
The second complainant met Hoggard through the dating app Tinder while the band was in Ottawa. She testified she agreed to meet him in Toronto to have sex in November 2016, but did not consent to what happened in the hotel, telling the court she was raped anally, vaginally and orally.
Both recalled that Hoggard spit in their mouths, slapped them and called them "slut" and "whore." The first complainant alleged he also pushed her face into the pillows, making it difficult for her to breathe.
The second complainant said Hoggard choked her so hard she feared for her life. At one point, she alleged, he dragged her by the legs into the bathroom and asked her to urinate on him, which she refused to do.
Hoggard is also accused of groping the teenage complainant after a Hedley show in April 2016, when she was still 15.
On the stand Tuesday, the singer categorically denied raping the complainants, saying both encounters were consensual and "passionate."
Hoggard further denied either of the complainants cried or said no, and maintained he relied on verbal and non-verbal cues to gauge consent with each of them.
The musician acknowledged it's possible some of the acts described by the complainants took place, noting spitting, slapping, name-calling and urination were among his sexual preferences. But he said restricting breathing and causing pain were not things he enjoyed.
Hoggard also said he didn't have detailed memories of the encounters, but had no doubt they were consensual.
Prosecutors suggested Wednesday that Hoggard, who had grown used to fame since Hedley's rise to success in 2004, wasn't used to having people say no to him. Both complainants said no to him, they alleged.
"You did not care, you still got what you wanted," Slate said Wednesday in her cross-examination.
"That’s not true," Hoggard said.
The defence, meanwhile, asked Hoggard how he could be certain the encounters were consensual given his limited memory. The singer said he recalled a positive experience, and that it was his practice to communicate with sexual partners.
"I know that's how I treat people," he said.
Court also heard Wednesday from a limo driver who drove the younger complainant to and from Hoggard's hotel.
Steven Wigoda said the teen was "very quiet" on the ride back to her home north of Toronto, but seemed otherwise normal.
He also denied making a stop at an ONroute rest stop on the way there, as the complainant has testified, saying he would have written it in his log if they had.
The Crown and defence are expected to make their closing submissions Friday, and jury deliberations could begin as early as Monday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2022.
Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press