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The 2018 trial date for the Canadian junior national team defendants remains unclear

Exact jury trial dates for five members of Team Canada’s 2018 world junior hockey team charged with sexual assault remain unclear after another hearing Tuesday morning.

Judge Alissa Mitchell held a brief virtual hearing Tuesday in a London, Ont., courtroom, where lawyers for the defendants appeared by teleconference. Mitchell was told the next pre-trial hearing – conducted in camera and in camera – would be held on July 3. As a result, Mitchell asked representatives to return to the courtroom on August 13 to “potentially” set trial dates. jury trial.

In January, London police charged Alex Formenton, Carter Hart, Dillon Dubé, Michael McLeod and Cal Foote with sexual assault over an alleged incident that took place in 2018. Five players were charged with one count of sexual assault, with McLeod facing a second count of sexual assault for “being a party to a crime.”

The charges stem from an alleged incident that occurred in June 2018 in a room at the Delta London Armories hotel following a Hockey Canada gala where the team was celebrated for winning a gold medal at the 2018 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.

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Last month, Mitchell set two pretrial filing deadlines for Sept. 5 and 6, which will be heard before Judge Bruce Thomas. This could mark the first in-person appearance of the five accused players in a London court. Until now, only legal representation was required to participate in court proceedings.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has already imposed a publication ban that prohibits the media from reporting anything that could reveal the identity of the alleged victim in the case.

In early April, Crown and defense attorneys agreed to hear pretrial motions in the case for three weeks, starting on November 25. Because these motions are scheduled to run through December, a jury trial is not expected to begin until early 2025.

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In late February, lawyers for the five players confirmed that their clients had mutually agreed to a jury trial. All five players – Formenton, Hart, Dubé, McLeod and Foote – will become unrestricted free agents this summer and will not have NHL contracts through the 2024-25 season.

In January, McLeod, Dubé, Hart and Foote were placed on leave from their NHL teams. Formenton was granted leave by HC Ambri-Piotta in Switzerland, where he played for the last two seasons.

During February’s All-Star weekend in Toronto, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters that players were unlikely to return to the league until their legal situation was resolved.

“Well, they’re away from their teams now and they’re all (pending) free agents,” Bettman said. “For personal reasons, if I were them, I would focus on defending myself, assuming the charges are accepted. “I would be surprised if they played while the case is ongoing.”

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(Photo: Andy Devlin/Getty Images)