Peter Nygard back in Toronto court Friday for bail hearing

Peter Nygard back in Toronto court Friday for bail hearing

by Sue Jones
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A bail hearing for former fashion mogul Peter Nygard for charges of sexual assault got underway Thursday following weeks of adjournments.

Peter Nygard Appears In Toronto Bail Hearing

Peter Nygard appeared in a via video link during Toronto bail hearing on charges of sexual assault and forcible confinement on Jan. 6, 2022. (Pam Davies)

A bail hearing for former fashion mogul Peter Nygard for charges of sexual assault got underway Thursday following weeks of adjournments.

Nygard was flown to Toronto at the end of October to face charges of sexual assault and forcible confinement related to incidents that allegedly happened in the city from the mid-1980s to the mid-2000s.

He made his first appearance in court on the Toronto charges at the end of October, where court heard the charges involve six different women. 

His bail hearing has been delayed at least twice. His lawyer, Brian Greenspan, told the court in December he and Ontario Crown prosecutors were trying to find dates to schedule a longer hearing. 

Thursday’s hearing began at 10 a.m. ET. 

The hearing is being held over Zoom, with Nygard appearing from the Toronto jail where he is being held in custody. Ontario Justice of the Peace John Scarfe is overseeing the hearing.

Nygard’s lawyer, Brian Greenspan, is arguing that Nygard should be released pending trail, while Ontario prosecutor Neville Golwalla is arguing Scarfe should deny Nygard bail.

Details brought forward during the hearing, including the specific allegations against Nygard in the Toronto case, are covered by a publication ban and can only be reported  if they are brought forward at a trial.

Nygard, 80, has been in custody since December 2020, when he was arrested at a Winnipeg house on separate sex trafficking and racketeering conspiracy charges in New York. 

Prosecutors in the U.S. said in an indictment that he drugged and sexually assaulted “at least dozens of women and minor-aged female victims” over the course of 25 years. 

There is an extradition proceeding underway in that case. The Toronto charges were revealed the same day Nygard signed a consent form agreeing to bypass the court extradition process for the New York charges and move straight to ministerial review by Justice Minister David Lametti.

The federal justice department has said it will be up to the minister to decide whether Nygard’s extradition would await the outcome of the Canadian charges. Lametti’s decision on the matter is still pending. 

Nygard tried unsuccessfully to get bail as part of the extradition process, but a judge said she was not satisfied that the bail plan laid out by his defence lawyers would ensure he would not contact witnesses or have others contact them. 

He appealed and lost, and in September the Supreme Court of Canada denied his request to hear his case.

Though he’s facing charges in two other jurisdictions, he has never faced them in Winnipeg — the city where he built his fashion empire and where multiple women have come forward with allegations against him. 

The Winnipeg Police Service said in a statement to The Fifth Estate last December that it referred eight cases to the Manitoba’s Justice Ministry, but prosecutors declined to lay charges.

Manitoba’s Justice Ministry and its prosecution office declined to do an interview or provide a statement about its reasons for deciding not to pursue the charges.

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