The Manitoba government is taking a second look at a decision to not lay charges against former fashion mogul Peter Nygard.
Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said Thursday the government will seek Crown attorneys from another province to review the evidence that was brought forward more than a year ago.
The review might lead to charges, Goertzen said, but there are no guarantees.
“I have no idea what the outcome is going to be. I just thought it was important for people’s confidence in the justice system,” he said.
“I felt it important because I had concerns. It bothered me that we were seeing charges in other places, but there might be good reason.”
Nygard faces two sex charges in Quebec and nine in Ontario, dating as far back as the 1980s.
Authorities in the United States have asked for him to be extradited to face charges of sex trafficking and racketeering in that country.
Nygard, 81, has denied all allegations.
In Nygard’s hometown of Winnipeg, police announced last year that they had submitted eight cases for consideration by the Crown, but prosecutors decided not to lay charges.
As is customary, there were no details on how that decision was reached.
Since then, some women have come forward in Manitoba and said they were victims of Nygard and were not given a full reason as to why charges were not laid. Goertzen said he has heard those concerns.
“We’ve all heard from those who’ve come forward with their stories, and it’s bothered me and I’ve lost sleep over it,” Goertzen said.
Goertzen said if the decision is again to not lay charges, he aims to provide some explanation without running the risk of jeopardizing other investigations or trials.
“I know that there are certain barriers we can’t cross … I think maybe sometimes we’re a little overly cautious.”
Manitoba Liberal leader Dougald Lamont, who has worked with some of the Winnipeg women who have come forward, was pleased with news of the review.
“There were real questions about … why people were told their charges weren’t being accepted,” Lamont said. “It’s a glimmer of hope.”
Nygard founded his fashion company in Winnipeg in 1967. He stepped down as chairman after the FBI and police raided his offices in New York City in February 2020.
Nygard International later filed for bankruptcy.