Defence argues Hoggard treated women disrespectfully but is not ‘sadistic serial rapist’

Defence lawyers told a Toronto jury Friday that Jacob Hoggard may have been cavalier and disrespectful towards women, but the Canadian musician is not a “sadistic serial rapist.”

In her closing arguments, defence lawyer Megan Savard painted her client as an insecure, attention-starved rock star who routinely succumbed to the temptation and easy validation of one-night stands over more than a decade of touring with the band Hedley, even when in a relationship.

But Hoggard did not rape the two complainants in the case, Savard argued in her final pitch to the jury. “He did not take delight in their struggles, he is not a monster, he is a flawed human being,” she said.

“His fame and power gave him the capacity to engage in hurtful conduct and two women were hurt by his callous approach to their sexual relationships,” she said.

“But Mr. Hoggard is not on trial for breaking hearts or disrespecting women, he is not on trial for being cavalier with their feelings. He has already admitted and paid the price for that.”

Savard argued the complainants made up the rape allegations because they were “upset and embarrassed by the way Mr. Hoggard dismissed them” and the stigma of admitting they regretted a consensual encounter was “too painful.”

She further suggested the complainants “needed a sympathetic story to tell that would allow them to save face” with their close friends and family, and while they never initially planned to contact police, by 2018, the pressure to do so began to mount.

“They’d lived with their lies for so long they had to follow through,” she said.

Hoggard, 37, 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.

The Crown alleges Hoggard violently and repeatedly raped a 16-year-old fan and a young woman in separate incidents in the fall of 2016.

Both women testified they cried and said no throughout the encounters, which took place in Toronto-area hotels.

The younger complainant, a longtime Hedley fan who first met Hoggard at age 12, testified he raped her vaginally and orally and attempted to do so anally on Sept. 30, 2016. She said she resisted physically but Hoggard pinned her down.

The second complainant, an Ottawa woman, testified she agreed to meet Hoggard in Toronto to have sex on Nov. 22, 2016. But instead of having consensual sex, she was raped anally, vaginally and orally, and at one point dragged by the legs into the bathroom, she told the court.

Both alleged Hoggard spit in their mouths, slapped them and called them derogatory names. They also said he restricted their breathing: the first complainant alleged he also pushed her face into the pillows, and the second complainant said he choked her so hard she feared for her life.

The Ottawa woman also alleged Hoggard asked her to urinate on him, which she refused to do

It’s also alleged Hoggard groped the younger complainant backstage after a Hedley concert in Toronto in April 2016, when she was still 15.

Hoggard testified earlier this week that he had consensual, “passionate” sex with each of the complainants in Toronto-area hotels.

He acknowledged some of the acts the women described – including spitting, slapping and calling them derogatory names – may have happened because they were part of his sexual repertoire.

The Crown is expected to make its final submissions to the jury this afternoon, and deliberations could begin as early as Tuesday.

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