Jacob Hoggard, the frontman of Canadian rock band Hedley, will proceed to trial on sexual assault charges involving a woman and a teenage girl, a judge ruled Friday after a two-day preliminary hearing.
Hoggard, 35, entered pleas of not guilty to two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm and one count of sexual interference involving a person under the age of 16 at the start of the hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed to a trial.
Ontario Court Justice Mara Greene committed Hoggard to stand trial based on the evidence heard during the hearing and because his defence lawyer conceded there was sufficient evidence to meet the low threshold for him to be committed to trial.
With the stated aim of ensuring the accused gets a fair trial, the evidence heard at the hearing is covered by a publication ban until the case concludes. The identity of the two complainants is also covered by a publication ban.
Hoggard, who is not in custody, sat next to his lawyers at the hearing at the downtown Toronto courthouse. His wife sat in the public gallery of the court for the duration of the hearing.
Hoggard was arrested and charged in July 2018 after allegations of sexual misconduct emerged through a CBC news report in February 2018.
One charge of sex assault involves the woman, the other two charges the teen, Toronto police have said.
In a statement last year, Hoggard denied engaging in any type of non-consensual sexual behaviour, but said he had “objectified” women and treated women in a way that that was “reckless and dismissive of their feelings.”
Hedley went on an indefinite hiatus at the end of a cross-country tour last spring after the allegations of sexual misconduct were made public.
Hoggard will next appear in court on August 23.
—with files from the Canadian Press
Alyshah Hasham is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and court. Follow her on Twitter: @alysanmati