Sexual assault trial against Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard begins

Canadian musician Jacob Hoggard’s sexual assault trial is set to begin after multiple delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jury selection in the case is set to begin Monday morning at a downtown Toronto courthouse.

Hoggard, the frontman of the Hedley band, pleaded not guilty to sexual assault causing bodily harm and sexual interference during a two-day preliminary hearing in the summer of 2019.

He chose to be tried by jury rather than judge alone and was originally scheduled to stand trial in January 2021.

But public health measures intended to curb the spread of COVID-19 prompted courts to suspend new jury trials for months during the pandemic, and the trial has been repeatedly pushed back.

It is now scheduled to run until early June.

The alleged incidents took place in 2016

Hoggard was arrested and charged in 2018 for alleged incidents involving a woman and a teenage boy that police say took place in the Toronto area in 2016. The complainants cannot be identified due to a publication ban .

Police began investigating the matter after allegations surfaced suggesting Hoggard had inappropriate encounters with young fans.

The singer released a statement long before his arrest in which he denied any non-consensual sexual conduct. But he admitted to behaving in a way that “objectivized women” and was “reckless and dismissive of their feelings”.

Hedley was let go by his management team and blacklisted by several radio stations after the allegations came to light, and the band has been on indefinite hiatus since 2018.