Jacob Hoggard appeared in court this morning to begin a two-day preliminary hearing surrounding sexual assault charges. The Hedley frontman turned himself in last summer and was charged with two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one count of sexual interference.
Appearing somber and staying silent, Hoggard, 35, did not avoid cameras as he entered the courthouse through the back door. Wife Rebekah Asselstine made a rare appearance by his side, as they held hands and showed a united front.
— CTV Toronto (@CTVToronto) July 11, 2019
Inside the courtroom, eyewitnesses claimed Hoggard appeared calm while listening to witness testimonies and several Hoggard supporters were also in attendance. The hearing is expecting to last two days and will determine whether the case can proceed to trial. Hoggard made a request for his case to be heard by a judge and jury, if it goes to trial, through his lawyer and pleaded not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one count of sexual interference.
Toronto police have said the charges relate to three separate incidents involving a woman and a teenage girl under the age of 16 that allegedly occurred in the Toronto area in 2016. Hoggard previously denied engaging in non-consensual sexual behaviour, but shared a post on Twitter lats year admitting he had acted in ways that objectified women.
— Jacob Hoggard (@JacobHoggard) March 1, 2018
Allegations of sexual misconduct emerged before the charges were laid. Hundreds of Canadian radio stations pulled Hedley’s music from their lineup last year, and the band is now on an indefinite hiatus.
with files from The Canadian Press