Nygard lawyers pitch bail with 24-hour video monitoring Judge to issue decision next week
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/01/2021 (858 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Lawyers for former fashion magnate Peter Nygard argue they have come up with “as close to a perfect bail plan as you could have.”
A judge said Thursday she will need a few more days to decide whether it will be enough to win his release from jail.
Nygard, 79, is being held at Headingley Correctional Centre as he faces possible extradition to the United States on charges of sex trafficking and racketeering.
Justice Shawn Greenberg adjourned Nygard’s bail hearing last week for further submissions from the defence, after raising concerns about the evidence of former Nygard Group of Companies executive Greg Fenske.
Fenske offered himself as a surety for Nygard, agreeing in an affidavit to let Nygard live in a $1-million Winnipeg house Fenski purchased through a numbered company. Under cross examination by attorney general of Canada counsel Scott Farlinger, it was revealed the house was purchased with Nygard’s own money.
On Thursday, court heard testimony from BIL Security Services owner William Dietterle, whose company provides around-the-clock video monitoring services.
“Video monitoring entails setting up cameras and we, essentially, watch the cameras 24 hours a day,” Dietterle said.
According to an affidavit filed in court Wednesday, BIL Security is the largest video monitoring service in Canada, operating the only dedicated video monitoring station between Toronto and Calgary.
Under the revised bail plan, Nygard’s lawyers are proposing BIL Security provide monitoring services at Fenske’s house, supplemented by onsite, sub-contracted security staff, to ensure Nygard doesn’t flee.
Dietterle said his company would install high-definition cameras with facial recognition capability outside each entrance of the house and around the perimeter of the property, capturing the movements of anyone coming and going.
Dietterle said camera software alerts staff monitoring the cameras when someone enters view, virtually eliminating the chance a person could leave the house undetected.
“We have pretty much eliminated the possibility of misses,” Dietterle said.
He said it would cost approximately $20,000 to install the security system, and $3,000 a month for monitoring.
In testimony last week, Fenske suggested Nygard didn’t have enough cash on hand to pay for a passport. On Thursday, lawyer Richard Wolson said refinancing on Nygard’s Bahamian estate has freed up funds that could be used to pay for the security system.
If Nygard doesn’t pay his bills, BIL Security would continue to provide monitoring services “for a period of time… for the public good,” Dietterle said.
Farlinger continued to oppose Nygard’s release, arguing monitoring services would do nothing to prevent him from leaving the house.
“When someone is out the door, video monitoring has reached its limit and is no longer of any use,” Farlinger said, adding video monitoring would not tell authorities what was happening inside the house.
Nygard’s lawyers say he is in frail health and at risk of contracting COVID-19 if he remains in custody.
Nygard co-counsel Jay Prober said the lawyers are still waiting for disclosure related to the extradition proceeding, including names of the alleged victims and dates the crimes were alleged to have been committed.
“This is unusual in terms of the quality of the information usually available on a domestic bail,” Greenberg told Farlinger. “It undermines the strength of your case and puts the accused in a particularly difficult position trying to refute any of the allegations.”
Greenberg adjourned the hearing to Feb. 5, but said that date may change if she reaches a decision earlier.
Nygard founded his eponymous fashion company in 1967 in Winnipeg. Over the decades, it grew to include headquarters in New York and Toronto, and its products were sold in stores across North America.
Nygard Group was ordered in receivership by a Manitoba judge in March 2020.
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.
Updated on Thursday, January 28, 2021 8:43 PM CST: Fixes typo.