‘You… thought you were above the law’: Jacob Hoggard’s lawyers slammed over late reveal of secret phone recording

‘You… thought you were above the law’: Jacob Hoggard’s lawyers slammed over late reveal of secret phone recording

Just a few months in advance of Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard began sending sexual, flirtatious messages to a 15-yr-outdated lover in the spring of 2016, yet another Canadian tunes business movie star was standing demo for allegedly sexually assaulting two gals.

Whilst cross-analyzing the complainant, now in her early 20s, this thirty day period, Hoggard’s defence lawyer Megan Savard questioned if the younger woman, a supporter of Canadian songs, had listened to of Jian Ghomeshi’s acquittal that March.

The complainant, who would have been in Quality 10 at the time, seemed blank.

“I didn’t know who he was prior to right until coming to this court docket course of action,” she mentioned. “And I however really don’t definitely know who he is or what he does.”

Even without an explicit mention, the previous CBC Radio host’s sensational demo and defence by law firm Marie Henein has loomed large more than Hoggard’s circumstance, and several other people just before it. The legislative legacy of the circumstance applies particularly each time a defence attorney seeks to confront a sexual assault complainant with a private document in their possession to suggest they are lying or have a memory also unreliable to be believed outside of a reasonable question.

In Ghomeshi’s scenario, it was the sudden reveal of a handwritten “love letter” to the accused. In Hoggard’s, it was an psychological 15-moment cellular phone connect with with a complainant that he secretly recorded — but which beneath a new put up-Ghomeshi legislation, the outraged demo decide said, ought to have been created and argued about just before the trial at any time started off.

In 2018, amid the #MeToo movement and in the wake of the Ghomeshi trial, the Liberal authorities launched legislation to “ensure that victims of sexual assault and gender-centered violence are treated with the utmost compassion and regard.” The legislation provided shifting the guidelines around how a complainant’s non-public data — documents that can consist of their past sexual background, professional medical diagnoses or other deeply particular data — can be launched in the course of cross-assessment.

This sort of information could now have to be uncovered before demo at a hearing on no matter if the data are non-public and then no matter if they are appropriate. If the response to both is indeed, there is a 2nd hearing in which the complainant can make submissions, usually by way of a courtroom-appointed law firm.

Defence attorneys argue this course of action forces them to expose key pieces of evidence that could contradict a complainant’s account to them, giving time for them to probably regulate their testimony very well in advance of cross-examination. Prosecutors and legal professionals for complainants argue the law protects sexual assault complainants from the humiliating and unfair use of intimate, individual non-public records. Preserving a complainant from that expertise encourages the reporting of sexual assaults, they argue.

And, as the constitutionality of the laws is established to be determined any day by the Supreme Courtroom of Canada, these emotional tensions played out in Hoggard’s demo for the violent rape of a teenage admirer and a younger Ottawa lady.

When Hoggard’s defence law firm Savard paused her cross-evaluation of the Ottawa lady and suddenly discovered to the court, outside the jury’s presence, that she was about to participate in a secretly recorded 15-minute mobile phone phone in between the complainant and Hoggard that took place times immediately after the alleged sexual assault, Exceptional Courtroom Justice Gillian Roberts was outraged.

“You, for some explanation, thought you have been higher than the regulation,” Roberts afterwards advised Savard, 1 of the lawyers who not long ago argued prior to the Supreme Court docket that the new procedures are unconstitutional.

Savard argued that the recording was not a non-public document and hence not included by the process laid out in the laws.

She said there is no acceptable expectation of privacy in the contact, in the course of which the complainant repeatedly recommended Hoggard had been coached or prepped by a attorney following she texted him and accused him of sexual assault.

Crown prosecutor Jill Witkin — who argued in favour of the legislation at the Supreme Courtroom on behalf of the Lawyer Normal of Ontario — stated that the record, an emotional, susceptible phone connect with recorded secretly and without the information of the complainant, really should be personal. The complainant appears plainly distressed for the duration of the get in touch with, in which she tells Hoggard: “Every time like I was trying to say no to you … You just pushed me like to the level where by it was just so painful.”

In the recording, Hoggard denies any wrongdoing in a deliberate, serene tone she accuses him of sounding scripted, as if he consulted a law firm.

Witkin argued that an software should have been brought in progress, supplying the complainant an prospect to see the history and get legal guidance. Now, she stated, the complainant could have to select among working out her legal rights and ending her testimony.

Savard mentioned the get in touch with and the contents of the connect with had been wanted to impeach the complainant on some of her testimony — the complainant had testified the only telephone call in between her and Hoggard was 30 seconds extended and denied she at any time reported she wanted stitches in her vagina, which she mentioned in the recording. Savard mentioned she to start with made a decision to enjoy the get in touch with after hearing the complainant’s testimony, adding that the connect with is no “smoking gun” and could slash equally approaches by also corroborating some of the complainant’s testimony and her emotional point out at the time.

Savard stated that if the call had not been recorded, she could have questioned inquiries about it devoid of an software. The complainant has also testified about several of the subject areas in the simply call, these types of as her accidents and health-related documents, and despatched text messages about them, which lessens her privateness curiosity, she argued.

She additional that revealing the phone in advance would have undercut the defence case.

Justice Roberts stated she did not invest in that argument.

“It suggests that in almost every single scenario you could do an stop-run all over this piece of legislation which is not what Parliament intended,” she said.

Roberts mentioned she felt like her arms ended up tied due to the fact the complainant, who experienced to journey in from Ottawa, was in the middle of cross-assessment and as a result certain not to go over her testimony with any individual.

Savard responded that currently being unable to increase these kinds of challenges mid-demo is a “fundamental challenge with the laws,” but stated the remedy is to get the complainant a lawyer and have a hearing.

“And then that is a mistrial since you have got the complainant, as you perfectly know, in the training course of cross-examination not only speaking to anyone about her proof but speaking to a law firm about her proof. If we want a verdict from this jury, it’s just not a remedy that is on the desk,” Roberts said.

Roberts said she was “backed into a corner” but dominated the mobile phone call and screenshots of some text messages saved by Hoggard have been not personal information due to the fact the complainant had no expectation of privateness and were being admissible at trial.

Even so, she mentioned, the simply call would have to be played for the complainant with no the jury existing.

“It strikes me as particularly the kind of issue the witness need to be notified of right before she gets in the box,” Roberts reported. “She shouldn’t hear that for the first time in entrance of all these persons. That strikes me as flat out cruel and particularly the variety of matter the legislation is striving to avoid.”

Savard agreed the complainant could be informed about the call in advance of it was played, but she argued it should be played to her for the initial time in court docket without the jury existing, somewhat than privately.

“That straddles the line among preserving the proper to complete remedy and defence and the ideal to silence by not demanding the defence to essentially give up their tactic in advance and allowing for the witness consciously or unconsciously to tailor their evidence to it whilst reducing the privacy invasion to the witness,” she explained.

Roberts dominated that the connect with would be played to the complainant in a area by the court’s target-witness assist individual, with a police officer existing to choose notes if she reported anything at all — a compromise to preserve both the dignity of the complainant and Hoggard’s good trial legal rights.

As the cellular phone phone was performed before the jury over a harrowing 20 minutes, the complainant shook and wept, prompting Roberts to interrupt the contact and tell her she “did not have to sit right here and suffer” and that they could start out once again tomorrow. The complainant said she would go on, and later on testified it was “traumatizing” to hear Hoggard’s voice.

She explained she had blocked out the simply call from 6 a long time ago as section of hoping to endure and that she had exaggerated her accidents to Hoggard as aspect of attempting to make him comprehend what he’d accomplished so he’d apologize.

In her closing arguments, Savard recommended the jury could see the complainant’s emotional response to the simply call as her getting caught in a lie. The Crown argued the jury ought to take into account the complainant’s own clarification.

Clarification — June 1, 2022: This tale has been edited to explain the defence position on why a listening to beneath the new laws was not necessary.