Peter Nygard tells his sex assault trial he wanted to ‘fully’ co-operate with police

By Sonja Puzic, The Canadian Press

Peter Nygard testified Tuesday that he wanted to co-operate with police during his 11-hour interview with a Toronto detective in 2021 because he had “nothing to hide.

Under cross-examination by the Crown, the former fashion mogul accused of sexual assault said he was “pleasantly surprised” to see that the detective had “done his homework” and knew a lot about Nygard’s history.

“I went in there to co-operate with them fully. I had nothing to hide,” Nygard said of the October 2021 interview during which he was questioned about allegations made against him.

The 82-year-old founder of a now-defunct women’s fashion company has pleaded not guilty to five counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement in alleged incidents ranging from the 1980s to mid-2000s.

Multiple complainants in the trial have alleged they were taken to Nygard’s Toronto headquarters under pretences ranging from tours to job interviews, with encounters ending in a top-floor bedroom suite where they allege they were sexually assaulted.

Nygard denied those allegations as he testified in his own defence last week. He told the jury that he has never done the things the five complainants in the trial have accused him of, nor would he engage in such behaviour.

Nygard told Crown attorney Neville Golwalla on Tuesday that the Toronto police detective treated him respectfully and that he felt comfortable during the interview, which he said was more like a “conversation.”

The cross-examination became tense at times as Golwalla zeroed in on some statements from Nygard’s previous testimony, such as how many hours per day Nygard typically worked when he ran his company, Nygard International.

Nygard appeared frustrated by what he said was Golwalla asking him the same question many times and at one point said to the Crown attorney, “You seem to want to trap me into some type of statements.”

Golwalla replied that he wasn’t trying to trap him. “I’m allowed to ask you questions,” he said.

Nygard was also asked about his previous testimony that a “suspicious” fire destroyed paper records at his Winnipeg building roughly 10 days before his interview with Toronto police in 2021.

Nygard has told the jury that the building was under receivership at the time of the fire and that no one from his company had controls of the facility.

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