A Kensington man who was found guilty of raping a woman he met through an online dating website is trying to get out of jail pending the outcome of an appeal.
Jeffrey Lea Hogg appeared before P.E.I. appeals court Justice John McQuaid in Charlottetown Wednesday to argue for his release.
Hogg has been in custody since Feb. 11 when he was sentenced to serve 27 months in prison after Supreme Court Justice Ben Taylor found him guilty of sexual assault.
The victim met Hogg through an online dating site where he told her his name was Chris MacDonald. He also went by the name Chris Diamond.
The two were supposed to go for a walk on the beach on their second date, but instead he drove to a field where they kissed and got into the back seat of his truck. It was there that he raped her.
During Tuesday’s court appearance, Hogg’s lawyer, Mitch MacLeod, questioned references Taylor made in his decision in which he called Hogg a “practised liar.”
MacLeod said it was an unreasonable finding and Justice Taylor used evidence of Hogg’s continued use of a pseudonym with the victim after they met for the first time. There was no evidence at trial to support Taylor’s ruling Hogg was being deceitful, MacLeod said.
“It’s opinion without the appropriate foundation.”
MacLeod also argued Taylor erred in law when he accepted testimony from a witness who said Hogg told them he was charged with sexual assault after he kissed the victim in the back of his truck.
Taylor accepted the victim saying she didn’t report the incident to the police right away because she didn’t think anyone would believe her, but MacLeod said there would have been physical evidence if her version of events was true.
In arguing for Hogg’s release, MacLeod said his client was ready to do anything the court deemed reasonable to expedite his
appeal and he was willing to post a surety.
Hogg was present for all his previous court dates, had roots in the community and would stay with his parents in Kensington if released, MacLeod said.
He also argued there would be additional hardships and
“strategic difficulty” if Hogg was kept in custody because he would be serving his time in Springhill, N.S.
Crown attorney Gerald Quinn didn’t mince his words when he argued for Hogg’s continued detention, including calling him a convicted rapist.
Quinn said the grounds for appeal MacLeod argued were weak and there wasn’t enough evidence presented that Hogg would surrender himself into custody if his appeal failed.
The request for his release was also contrary to the public
interest in that there was a safety risk and his release would impact the public’s confidence in the administration of justice, Quinn said.
After hearing arguments from both sides, McQuaid said he would have to consider the
submissions and would provide
a written decision at a later