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Jury in Peter Nygard trial asks judge how to proceed if they can't agree on a count

The jury in Peter Nygard's sexual assault trial is expected to hear closing arguments from the Crown and defence lawyers today. Seen through a police vehicle window, Nygard arrives to a Courthouse in Toronto, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

TORONTO — The judge in Peter Nygard's sexual assault trial is urging the jury to keep deliberating after they asked how to proceed if they can't reach a unanimous decision on one of the counts.

The jury, which has been deliberating since late Wednesday afternoon, also asked the judge Friday evening to define a "significant" amount of time as it relates to unlawful confinement. 

Justice Robert Goldstein told them that, in this case, a significant period of time means it's more than momentary and "appreciable," with no minimum requirement.  

Nygard, the 82-year-old founder of a now-defunct women’s fashion company, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement in alleged incidents ranging from the 1980s to mid-2000s.

Five complainants have testified that they were invited to Nygard's Toronto headquarters under pretences ranging from tours to job interviews, with all encounters ending in a top-floor bedroom suite where they alleged they were sexually assaulted.

Nygard testified in his own defence and denied all five of the women’s allegations, saying he didn’t recall meeting or interacting with four of them. 

The judge told the jury on Friday that they should keep deliberating with an open mind in order to reach a unanimous decision on all counts. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 10, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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