Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard’s sex assault trial to begin in May

Entertainment

The sex assault trial of Canadian musician Jacob Hoggard is set to begin in May after it was postponed multiple times due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Singer Jacob Hoggard, centre, leaves a Toronto courthouse alongside his wife, Rebekah Asselstine, on July 12, 2019, in Toronto. Hoggard's sex assault trial is now set to begin in May following multiple delays due to COVID-19.(Cole Burston/Getty Images)

The sex assault trial of Canadian musician Jacob Hoggard is set to begin in May after it was postponed multiple times due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The trial, which will be heard by a jury, is now scheduled to start May 2 and continue until early June.

Hoggard, the frontman for the band Hedley, was initially set to stand trial in January of last year but it was postponed by several months, and then again to this month.

The trial was delayed again because new jury trials have been put on hold in light of the Omicron-fuelled surge in COVID-19 cases — a pause that is expected to last until at least Feb. 7.

The singer pleaded not guilty to sexual assault causing bodily harm and sexual interference at his preliminary hearing.

He was arrested and charged in 2018 for alleged incidents involving a woman and a teenager that police have said took place in the Toronto area in 2016.

The complainants cannot be identified due to a publication ban.

Investigation launched in 2018

Police began investigating Hoggard earlier in 2018, after allegations emerged that suggested he had inappropriate encounters with young fans.

Hoggard issued a statement months before his arrest, denying any non-consensual sexual conduct but acknowledging having behaved in a way that "objectified women" and was "reckless and dismissive of their feelings."

Hedley has been on an indefinite hiatus since March 2018. Following the allegation, the band was dropped by its management team and banned by multiple radio stations.

Hoggard was present Thursday for a virtual hearing dealing with pre-trial motions in his case, the contents of which are also protected under a publication ban.

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