By Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard appeared virtually before a Quebec court judge from a Toronto jail on Tuesday on charges of sexual assault and forcible confinement dating back nearly 25 years.
Nygard, in an orange jumpsuit with his hair tied back, took notes during the brief proceedings before Judge Anne-Marie Lanctôt.
He was represented by Montreal lawyer Laurence Juillet, who waived the reading of the charges and reserved a decision on whether a future trial would be before a jury or a judge alone.
Disclosure of evidence could be done as early as Tuesday, with the Montreal case set to return to court on April 4. Nygard will not be required to appear in court next Monday for what his lawyer described as a procedural hearing.
An arrest warrant issued in Montreal alleges Nygard, 80, committed one count of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement involving the same victim, between Nov. 1, 1997, and Nov. 15, 1998.
Outside the courtroom, prosecutor Jérôme Laflamme told reporters he was limited in what he could say about the case, including the gender of the alleged victim. He did confirm the victim was over 18 years old at the time of the alleged crimes.
A publication ban was requested in the Montreal case and the Crown has opposed bail — a technicality since Nygard is already detained while facing sex-related charges in Toronto and the United States.
“That’s where we’ll decide whether we will set a date for his bail hearing or not, but the prosecution is objecting to his release,” Laflamme said of the next court date. “The prosecution will insist on a speedy trial.”
Last fall, Nygard was charged in Toronto with six counts of sexual assault and three counts of forcible confinement in alleged incidents dating back to the late 1980s and mid-2000s. He has denied those allegations.
Earlier this year, a Toronto court rejected his bid to be released on bail.
Nygard is also facing extradition to the United States.
He was first arrested in Winnipeg in 2020 under the Extradition Act after being charged with nine sex-related counts in New York. Authorities in the U.S. allege he used his position in the fashion industry to lure women and girls. Nygard, who has denied the allegations through his lawyer, had agreed to be extradited to the U.S. to face a charge of sex trafficking.
Last week, federal Justice Minister David Lametti said he issued an order stating Nygard could be extradited to the U.S., but added, “only after current criminal charges in Canada have been addressed.” Laflamme told reporters Tuesday that the completion of the Montreal case is part of the conditions for extradition.
The former head of a multimillion-dollar clothing company also faces a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. involving 57 women with similar allegations.