Manitoba

Manitoba Justice has been reviewing Peter Nygard cases since December, no charges laid

Manitoba Justice has been considering whether or not to lay charges against fashion mogul Peter Nygard for nearly 10 months, CBC News has learned, with eight files referred by the Winnipeg Police Service to the Crown prosecutor's office for review in December 2020.

Winnipeg police confirm they referred 8 files to Crown for review nearly 10 months ago

Peter Nygard, 80, appeared at a Jan. 28, 2021, bail hearing via video link from Headingley Correctional Centre. He has been denied bail and remains in custody in Headingley. (Tadens Mpwene/La Liberté Manitoba)

Manitoba Justice has been considering whether or not to lay charges against fashion mogul Peter Nygard for nearly 10 months, CBC News has learned, with eight files referred by the Winnipeg Police Service to the Crown prosecutor's office for review in December 2020.

Nygard, 80, was arrested nine months ago on a number of charges filed in a Southern District of New York court, including sex trafficking and racketeering. He spent two weeks at the Winnipeg Remand Centre, then was transferred to Headingley Correctional Centre, just outside of Winnipeg, where he remains while he awaits extradition to the U.S

The Winnipeg police investigation began in February 2020 and lasted 10 months. Eight women filed complaints with Winnipeg police. Their files were sent to prosecution services for review in December.

"We can confirm that WPS has concluded its investigation into allegations of sexual assaults by Peter Nygard and that the results have been forwarded to Manitoba Justice," said a police spokesperson.

Manitoba Justice has been reviewing the case files since then but won't say if charges will be laid.

"There are no charges outstanding for Mr. Nygard in Manitoba," a provincial spokesperson said in an email to CBC News. 

When asked whether or not the Crown was still reviewing the eight files Winnipeg police referred in December, the spokesperson said Manitoba Justice "will not be commenting further on this."

Difficult time for complainants: law prof

University of Manitoba law professor Karen Busby says the time between reporting a sexual assault to police and waiting to find out if a charge will be laid is nerve-racking for complainants.

"I've got to feel for the complainants," said Busby.

"They know their credibility is being tested. They're trying to put something behind them, but they have to keep it in front of them because of the possibility of having to testify."

University of Manitoba law professor Karen Busby, seen here in a 2018 file photo, says the time between reporting a sexual assault to police and waiting to find out if a charge will be laid is difficult for complainants. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

Nygard applied for bail in January and was denied. He appealed the decision and lost.

In May he took his fight to the Supreme Court of Canada in an effort to have the decisions by the two lower courts overturned. Earlier this month the Supreme Court dismissed his case. Nygard remains in jail.

In February 2020, a class-action lawsuit was filed in New York accusing Nygard of rape, sexual assault and human trafficking, with some allegations going back as far as 1977.

The court documents also accused Nygard of luring underage girls and women to so-called "pamper parties" by promising them, among other things, lucrative modelling opportunities.

The lawsuit also names a number of upper-level Nygard company executives, officers and directors who are accused of enabling the sex assaults.

The class-action lawsuit has been put on hold until the criminal case against Nygard has concluded.

None of the allegations against Nygard have been proven in court. He has maintained his innocence and says the accusations have been made up to tarnish his reputation.

A one-hour hearing is scheduled for Friday morning to deal with the extradition request. It will be live streamed on media websites, including CBC.ca, beginning at 7:45 a.m. CT.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caroline Barghout

Investigative Reporter, CBC Manitoba I-Team

Caroline began her career co-hosting an internet radio talk show in Toronto and then worked at various stations in Oshawa, Sudbury and Toronto before landing in Winnipeg in 2007. Since joining CBC Manitoba as a reporter in 2013, she has won an award for her work on crowded jails and her investigation into Tina Fontaine's death led to changes in the child welfare system. Email: caroline.barghout@cbc.ca

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