Peter Nygard will spend at least a few more days behind bars after his lawyers told a Winnipeg court Wednesday they need more time to adjust their submission in an ongoing bail hearing following his arrest last month on charges in the United States of sex trafficking and racketeering.
Another bail hearing has been set for Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. in Winnipeg.
The ask from Nygard’s lawyers came after Justice Shawn Greenberg, who is presiding over what had been scheduled as a two-day bail hearing, said she had serious concerns with witness Greg Fenske, who has offered himself as a surety for Nygard.
Fenske was grilled Tuesday about who controls company assets, and who paid for the property he’s offered to let Nygard stay in.
Justice Greenberg said Wednesday it appears Fenske has nothing to lose, which defeats the purpose of a surety.
Meanwhile, Nygard’s defence again brought up the 79-year-olds multiple health complications, which they say means death is all but certain if he contracts COVID-19 behind bars.
Defence lawyer Jay Prober called their bail plan “rock solid,” and said because of Nygard’s condition, health care workers would be at the property 24/7.
Federal lawyers say the seriousness of the allegations Peter Nygard faces in the United States outweighs any risk the Canadian fashion mogul faces behind bars.
Nygard was arrested last month in Winnipeg under the Extradition Act and faces nine charges in the Southern District of New York, including sex trafficking and racketeering.
He is seeking bail while it is decided whether he will be sent to the U.S. to face trial.
Scott Farlinger, a lawyer for the attorney general of Canada, alleges that Nygard engaged in a decades-long pattern of using force and coercion to get sex for himself and others.
He said Nygard has a history of not showing up to court and U.S. authorities have made allegations he has previously interfered with the administration of justice by bribing witnesses.
The pandemic is “not a get out of jail free card,” said Farlinger, claiming Nygard and his company created “almost an industry” based on predatory behaviour.
Witnesses Fenske and Steve Mager, another Nygard associate who pledged himself as a surety to Nygard fleeing should he be let out on bail, were heard Tuesday.
The first to be questioned was Fenske, a former Nygard executive, who lost his job as the company went into receivership in March 2020. Fenske told the court he doesn’t work directly for Nygard now, but pays himself through his consulting firm.
Through testimony on Tuesday, Farlinger argued Nygard was essentially paying for his own sureties.
Court heard how a house was purchased to provide space and privacy for Nygard. The money was sent to Fenske’s numbered company as part of a $1-million consulting fee that Farlinger suggested came from Nygard through a company called Edson’s.
“This is ultimately Mr. Nygard’s money,” Farlinger said.
Prober said Wednesday a proposed bail plan will ensure Nygard has a place to stay and will follow release conditions.
The crown proposed a $1.2-million bond for Nygard.
Travel bans throughout the world due to the novel coronavirus mean there’s nowhere for Nygard to go, even if he could, said Prober.
“He’s not healthy enough to go anywhere,” he said.
Nygard’s co-counsel, Richard Wolson, said “Nygard is fighting for his life. His health is in a downward spiral.”
Despite Headingley jail’s best efforts, they can’t stop COVID-19 and is currently dealing with an outbreak, said Wolson.
“Nygard is a time bomb.”
For the most part, Nygard, who was appearing via video link, had been taking notes throughout the hearing, but looked at the floor and shook his head while crown lawyers described, in sometimes graphic detail, what he’s been accused of.
—With files from Brittany Greenslade, Will Reimer, and The Canadian Press