Woman tells court Hoggard choked her during sex assault, making her fear for her life

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Published May 10, 2022 at 1:18 pm

Jacob Hoggard

An Ottawa woman told a Toronto court this morning that Canadian musician Jacob Hoggard choked her hard enough to make her fear for her life as he sexually assaulted her in his hotel room more than five years ago.

The woman, who is the second complainant in Hoggard’s sex assault trial, testified that she agreed to meet the singer in Toronto in November 2016, nearly two weeks after the two of them crossed paths on the dating app Tinder.

Tearing up on the stand at times, she said she knew they were meeting up to have sex, but that Hoggard raped her anally, vaginally and orally, and at one point dragged her off the bed and into the bathroom by her legs.

The woman testified that during the incident, Hoggard choked her to the point where she couldn’t breathe, causing her to worry that he would kill her and no one would know where she was.

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 someone under 16.

An agreed statement of facts says he had a sexual encounter with each of the complainants after they came to his hotel on separate occasions in the fall of 2016. Neither woman can be identified under a publication ban.

The complainant, now in her late 20s, testified Tuesday that Hoggard was acting “like a psychopath” during the encounter and that she was afraid of him. “His eyes were absolutely terrifying,” she said.

She said it was like Hoggard had become “a different person,” noting he had been nice in all their conversations before that day. She wouldn’t have gone to meet him had she expected him to act this way, she said.

The other complainant, who was 16 at the time, has testified that Hoggard repeatedly raped her vaginally and orally, and attempted to do so anally, on Sept. 30, 2016.

She told the court she was brought to Hoggard’s hotel by limousine and expected that they would be spending part of the day together shopping and sightseeing.

She also testified the singer groped her backstage after a show in Toronto in April 2016.

The defence has suggested the two of them had consensual sex and the teen made up a “rape story” because she was embarrassed about being “used” by a rock star for whom she had developed romantic feelings.

Defence lawyers have also suggested the alleged groping did not happen.

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