Denied: Nygard kept in the slammer
Manitoba's highest court denies second bail attempt
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/03/2021 (793 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Manitoba’s highest court has dismissed fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s application for bail — the second time he’s tried to get out of jail.
“Ultimately, I am not persuaded that the proposed changes to the bail plan constitute a material change in circumstances,” ruled Manitoba Court of Appeal Justice Jennifer Pfuetzner in a written decision released Friday afternoon.
Nygard, 79, has been in custody since Dec. 14, when he was arrested on a U.S. extradition warrant. He faces prosecution in New York on nine counts of sex trafficking and racketeering.
He was denied bail last month after Queen’s Bench Justice Shawn Greenberg ruled she was not satisfied Nygard wouldn’t try to tamper with witnesses if he were released.
In her ruling last month, Greenberg said security and monitoring measures proposed by Nygard — to satisfy justice officials he would not flee from a $1-million home on John Bruce Road in Winnipeg — would not prevent him from tampering with alleged victims or witnesses by phone, or having someone do it on his behalf.
In its appeal, Nygard’s legal team proposed installing sophisticated monitoring software on all of Nygard’s cellphones and electronic devices that would alert a monitoring service of any suspect communications.
The new plan still didn’t address the “flaws” Greenberg identified in the previous plan, Pfuetzner said.
Greenberg “was rightly concerned that others would act on behalf of (Nygard) to contact witnesses and victims,” Pfuetzner said.
“The sophisticated technology contemplated by (Nygard’s) ‘21st century bail plan’ could, as counsel for the attorney general adroitly stated, be defeated by someone simply walking in and handing (Nygard) a ‘burner’ (phone),” she said.
Even if she was wrong and the new bail plan did constitute a “material change in circumstances,” keeping Nygard in custody is necessary to maintaining confidence in the justice system, Pfuetzner said.
“I say this having regard not only to the revised bail plan, but to all of the factors considered by (Greenberg), including the ‘extreme’ nature and scope of the allegations, which paint a picture of criminal conduct that was planned, financed and executed on a staggering scale,” Pfuetzner said.
The U.S indictment against Nygard alleges that from 1995 and 2020, Nygard – alongside his business associates and co-conspirators – engaged in a “pattern of criminal conduct involving at least dozens of victims in the United States, the Bahamas and Canada.”
Nygard is accused of raping and sex trafficking young girls, often targeting individuals from “disadvantaged backgrounds” with a “history of abuse,” and keeping them quiet via “threats, false promises of modelling opportunities” and “other coercive means.”
He is being held in protective custody at Headingley Correctional Centre, has a cell to himself that can house up to three prisoners, and exclusive access to a phone 16 hours a day, raising questions he is receiving preferential treatment.
“Mr. Nygard is not receiving any special treatment,” a Manitoba Justice spokesperson said in an email to the Free Press, describing the area as comparable to a dorm, with a phone situated in the common area.
“At Headingley, there is a mirrored cell to the one housing Mr. Nygard that has the same amenities, so yes, other inmates in protective custody would have similar access to a phone in their cell. All inmates (in protective custody) would have access to a phone for 16 hours each day.”
Inmate cell assignments are subject to regular review, “which could determine an eligible roommate if there is no risk to Mr. Nygard,” according to the spokesperson.
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.