Members of Hockey Canada’s 2018 world junior team facing sexual assault charges elect to have trial by jury

Lawyers representing five members of Team Canada’s 2018 world junior hockey team who are facing sexual assault charges issued a statement Wednesday confirming their clients have elected to have a trial by jury.

“Earlier this week, all five players selected a trial by jury and they are confident that jurors drawn from the community will decide this case fairly and impartially after hearing all the evidence and testimony,” read a joint statement from the lawyers.

Earlier this month, London Police confirmed they had issued two counts of sexual assault for Michael McLeod, and one each for Dillon Dubé, Cal Foote, Alex Formenton and Carter Hart, stemming from an alleged June 2018 incident inside a room at the Delta London Armouries Hotel. The incident followed a Hockey Canada gala at which the team had been celebrated for its gold medal win.

The second charge against McLeod stems from the same incident.

“The one charge he was laid with is in relation to his own actions and the party to the offense charge is in relation to aiding someone else and committing the offense,” London police detective sergeant Katherine Dann said on Feb. 5.


One night in London: Allegations of sexual assault and a reckoning for Hockey Canada

The allegations were made public in a lawsuit filed by the woman against Hockey Canada in April 2022. In the complaint, filed in Ontario Superior Court, the woman alleged she was assaulted by eight players in a hotel room after the gala. Members of Canada’s 2018 world junior team were among those accused of assault in the lawsuit.

Hockey Canada and the woman settled the lawsuit in May 2022.

After the lawsuit was made public, London police and Hockey Canada reopened their investigations into the incident, and the NHL launched an investigation as well. The initial investigation by London police was closed in February 2019, without charges being filed.

Earlier this month, legal experts told The Athletic to expect the five defendants in this case to be tried together.

This would be in the interest of maximizing court resources, as well as ensuring the victim does not have to appear at five different court cases for the same crime. But just because all are being tried simultaneously doesn’t mean the verdict will be the same for all five defendants. There is a chance, for example, that two of the players could be found guilty while the other three are found not guilty.

“It happens all the time where there are multiple co-accused,” criminal defense lawyer Sam Goldstein told The Athletic on Feb. 2. “Some people are found not guilty and some people are.”

The Ontario provincial court system lists March 5 as the next scheduled date for this case — but it’s listed as “trial scheduling,” meaning it is likely to be procedural and will only deal with logistical matters on that date.

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(Photo: Andy Devlin / Getty Images)

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