Five former Junior Team Canada players accused of sexual assault will face jury trial

Five former members of the Canadian junior hockey team accused of sexual assault in a 2018 incident in London, Ont., have opted to be tried by jury.

Dillon Dube, Carter Hart, Michael McLeod, Cal Foote and Alex Formenton were charged with sexual assault last month. McLeod also faces an additional charge of sexual assault for “participation in the offense.”

In a joint statement, their attorneys said the five players elected a jury trial earlier this week and are “confident that community jurors will decide this matter fairly and impartially after hearing all of the evidence and all the testimonies”.

The charges in this case relate to an alleged incident at a London hotel in June 2018, after members of the world junior team celebrated a gold medal.

The investigation was initially concluded without charges in 2019.

London’s police chief, who took office last year, apologized to the complainant earlier this month for the delay in filing charges in the case, but would not explain the cause of this delay, citing the lawsuit.

Internal investigations

Hockey Canada and the National Hockey League (NHL), where four of the five accused now play, have each launched their own investigation, the results of which have not been made public.

Dube plays for the Calgary Flames and Hart for the Philadelphia Flyers, while McLeod and Foote wear the colors of the New Jersey Devils. Formenton previously played for the Ottawa Senators before joining a team in Switzerland. All five players have been authorized to go on indefinite leave.

The players’ lawyers said their clients would defend themselves against the allegations in the case.

Jury trials are open to people accused of the most serious crimes, called indictable offences, such as murder. They may also be an option for people charged with so-called hybrid offenses, such as sexual assault.

The case is due back in court on April 30.

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