Peter Nygard bail decision delayed after defence offers new release plan
Nygard faces extradition to U.S., accused of sexually assaulting dozens of women and girls over 25 years
Lawyers for Peter Nygard say the former fashion mogul will be under constant video surveillance and have a security guard watching the outside of the house where he'll stay if he's released on bail next week.
His defence team's new release plan was presented at a bail hearing on Thursday morning in Winnipeg.
Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice Shawn Greenberg reserved her decision until Feb. 5 at 9 a.m., but said it could come sooner.
Nygard, 79, has been in custody since he was arrested at a Winnipeg house on Dec. 14. He is accused of sexually assaulted dozens of women and girls over a 25-year period, and faces possible extradition to the U.S. on those allegations.
His bail hearing, which began on Jan. 19, was originally scheduled for two days. On Jan. 20, his defence team received additional time after Greenberg raised concerns with their original bail plan.
WATCH | Defence team's new release plan presented at a bail hearing:
That plan said Nygard would live at a home owned by a numbered company formed by Greg Fenske — a former Nygard company executive, and one of the people who came forward as a surety for Nygard.
Court heard on Thursday from William Dietterle, president of BIL Security Services, who said his company would monitor Nygard with real-time, high-definition video of the entries, exits and perimeter of the house in Winnipeg's Royalwood neighbourhood, 24 hours a day. Dietterle testified his staff would immediately call police if Nygard breached his bail conditions.
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He said his team also uses software to bring any possible breaches to their attention.
The company would not immediately shut off service if it stopped being paid by Nygard or his counsel, Dietterle said, and if it did have to stop monitoring because of nonpayment, he would notify the court.
The surveillance equipment would cost about $20,000 to install, plus roughly $3,000 per month for monitoring services, Dietterle said.
Defence disputes claim Nygard has passport
Richard Wolson, one of Nygard's lawyers, said his client's bail plan also includes a security guard who would monitor the house.
Nygard's lawyers said financing is being sought on their client's properties in Falcon Lake and the Bahamas, and they expect that money will be available to help cover the costs associated with the bail plan.
Defence lawyer Jay Prober disputed a recent CBC report that Nygard has a valid passport.
Nygard previously claimed in court he let his passport expire in 2020, and said because of that, he is not a flight risk.
A photo obtained by CBC News appears to show a Canadian passport in Nygard's name that is valid through 2025.
Prober said Nygard came to Canada in 2018 with the passport shown in that photo, which had water damage and needed to be replaced. Prober said the passport was returned, and his client then got a replacement one that expired in September 2020. He said he didn't know why it was only renewed for two years.
Three people helped Nygard get that new passport, Prober said: his client's sister and niece, and a third woman who is now part of a class-action lawsuit against Nygard. Prober said that woman must have kept a photo of the damaged passport.
When CBC News previously sent a photo of that passport to Nygard's lawyers for clarification on the expiry date, Prober responded that he had no comment because the matter is before the courts.
Concerns with release plan
Scott Farlinger, a lawyer for the attorney general of Canada, opposed Nygard's release on the grounds his sureties were insufficient.
He said the proposed video monitoring of the house only works until someone gets to the end of the property, and that ankle monitoring would still be needed to enforce restrictions.
The defence said last week Nygard's Bahamas property was "unsellable," Farlinger said, and are now saying it is being financed.
If the court does release Nygard on bail, Farlinger said he will ask for strict conditions, including house arrest, curfew checks and providing Nygard's phone numbers to police.
He also said even with video monitoring and a security guard, there's no way to know what's happening inside the house and whether other bail conditions are being breached.
That would require a security guard inside the house at all times, and to escort Nygard to any meetings or appointments outside the residence, Farlnger said.
An order would be needed to keep Nygard from contacting the women involved in the U.S. accusations against him if he is released on bail, Farlinger said. There are serious concerns about possible witness tampering, he alleged, adding that Prober has indicated he knows who some of the complainants are.
Prober said Nygard's team would need the complete list of complainants' names to make sure their client doesn't contact those people. He also said the numbers Nygard calls from his phone could be monitored.
None of the allegations against Nygard, who appeared in court via video link from Headingley Correctional Centre, have been proven in court.
Nygard's lawyers argued their client must be released on bail due to health risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With files from Caroline Barghout