Calgary

Voyeurism trial booked for former CFL running back Jerome Messam

Despite a judge's order, a former Calgary Stampeder and Saskatchewan Roughrider charged with voyeurism will not appear in a Calgary courtroom in person on Thursday — as a trial date has now been set for next year.

Jerome Messam was with the Calgary Stampeders when a consensual sexual encounter was allegedly videotaped

A trial date next May has been set for Jerome Messam, who was playing for the Calgary Stampeders when a consensual sexual encounter was allegedly videotaped without the other person's consent. He is charged with voyeurism. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Despite a judge's order, a former Calgary Stampeder and Saskatchewan Roughrider charged with voyeurism will not appear in a Calgary courtroom in person on Thursday — as a trial date has now been set for next year.

Running back Jerome Messam had been ordered by Judge Sean Dunnigan to appear in person later this week in order to ensure a substantial step was taken in the case.

The judge had indicated he was frustrated after lawyers representing Messam had appeared in court eight times without any substantial motion on the case.

But Messam's Toronto defence lawyer, Gavin Holder, had the matter brought into a courtroom Tuesday instead so that his client did not have to attend Thursday. 

Messam played for the Stampeders for almost three seasons before joining the Roughriders in February.

He was playing for the Stampeders in November 2016 when police allege a consensual sexual encounter was videotaped without the woman's consent.

Messam was released from the Saskatchewan Roughriders team after charges were laid in July.

Last week, Holder had a Calgary duty counsel lawyer ask for a two-week adjournment despite a previous order that a meaningful step be taken in the case.

Dunnigan said the court was "not impressed" that Holder had not communicated any reasons for the delay request.

It was also said on the record that Holder had set up a phone meeting with assigned prosecutor Janice Walsh but never called or rescheduled.

So, Dunnigan ordered Messam to appear in person on Thursday. 

Holder brought the case forward Tuesday in front of Judge Bob Wilkins. 

Speaking with the media outside the courtroom, Holder said of last week's court appearance: "It's unfortunate that certain comments were made which were inaccurate."

Holder, who has been in a lengthy jury trial in Ontario, said he was not attempting to delay the process and felt the need to travel from Toronto to explain in person why he had requested an adjournment.

"Bottom line is I was in the middle of the jury trial and a message was mis-sent," said Holder. "I am in constant communication with the Crown and the process is underway."

Messam will be in court in Calgary next March for a hearing on the admissibility of a statement he made to investigators. 

His trial is now set for May 2019.

"It's a very difficult time for him," said Holder of his client. "He is an upstanding member of the community and as a family man, this is a difficult process."

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.