Warning: Contains graphic content
Two roommates and a friend of an Ottawa woman who testified Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard raped her in a Toronto hotel room said that the woman was upset and not acting like herself when she returned home, court heard Friday.
“It was very bad. I didn’t recognize the person,” said a friend who saw the complainant in person the next day. “I could tell she was in pain … she was just distraught … Sometimes I like, I feel like when you are processing something like that you kind of just let go of yourself. But she was very different than when she had left. It was hard to see.”
One of her two roommates said “her demeanour was completely off” and she appeared to be in shock, could barely sit down and looked physically unwell. The roommate testified that the complainant showed her significant bruising on her pelvic region and legs.
Hoggard, 37, has pleaded not guilty to sexual touching of a person under the age of 16 and two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm, charges which relate to two separate complainants, one of whom was a teenager at the time.
Hoggard admitted to having a “sexual assault” with each complainant in the fall of 2016, and his lawyer has suggested both fabricated their encounter with violent, repeated sexual assaults that left them with physical injuries.
The Ottawa woman, who is now in her late 20s, testified this week that she traveled from Ottawa to Toronto to have sex with Hoggard in November 2016 but that, once in his usual hotel room, he anally, vaginally and orally raped her over the course of three or four hours.
On Friday morning, Superior Court Justice Gillian Roberts told the jury a correction needed to be made due to an error by defense counsel during cross-examination. A clip of a CBC interview of a person with their face and voice disguised had been played to the complainant. In it, the person said they were recovering from surgery before the sexual assault, which made the pain worse. The defense suggested to the complainant she never told the police or the jury this, and that this was an inconsistency in her evidence. The complainant maintained she never said that in the interview, but agreed with the defense suggestion that the person in the clip was her.
In fact, that person was not her, Roberts told the jury, and when defense counsel Megan Savard realized this later that night, she corrected it.
“The clip has absolutely nothing to do with our trial,” Roberts said. “Trials are, as you can appreciate, human processes so it is almost inevitable that mistakes happen.”
Roberts told the jury the complainant had been told about the mistake and assured it would also be explained to the jury.
On Friday she testified she exchanged sexual, explicit messages with Hoggard in the two weeks between matching with him on Tinder and going to meet him in Toronto to have sex. In followup questioning by the Crown in response to Hoggard’s defense counsel suggesting that she could have left the hotel room at several points, the complainant said she was “terrified.”
She said she didn’t get her phone and use it to call or message anyone because she was in a traumatizing situation.
“It was very difficult to think rationally, to make rational decisions,” she said. “If I could go back I would have called someone.”
Her close friend testified that the complainant called her from a Tim Hortons while waiting for the train back to Ottawa and was upset.
Hoggard’s defense lawyer, Kally Ho, said the friend also told police the complainant was a bit embarrassed and had mixed emotions.
“She knew something wrong had happened,” the friend said.
Ho also questioned the friend about whether the complainant used the word “rape” in her messages to Hoggard in the days after she returned from Toronto.
She said she didn’t know the specific words used but that the complainant told Hoggard he forced her to do sexual acts.
“From my understanding that’s rape,” the friend said.
The friend said she didn’t see any marks on the complainant’s legs but said she was limping and appeared to be in pain. She denied the defense suggestion that she was only going off the complainant’s description of how she felt rather than her own observation.
Another roommate testified he could often hear the complainant crying in bed for days and weeks after, and that she didn’t seem like herself when she returned from Toronto.
Earlier in the trial, another woman, now in her early 20s, testified that she had been a huge fan of the Canadian pop-rock band since she was a small child. She said she began texting with Hoggard when she was 15 and that he grabbed her bum and tried to kiss her neck after a concert at the Air Canada Center in April 2016.
Several months later, when she was 16, she alleges he repeatedly raped her in a hotel room near Pearson airport. She said she never intended to have sex with Hoggard that day and thought they’d be having lunch in downtown Toronto.
The trial continues on Monday.