Supreme Court won't hear bail appeal from fashion mogul Peter Nygard

The Supreme Court of Canada won't hear a bail appeal from a Canadian fashion mogul who is facing trafficking and racketeering charges in the United States.

Peter Nygard applied earlier this year to the country's highest court for permission to challenge a Manitoba ruling that denied him release while he awaits possible extradition.

"We gave it a good effort," said defence lawyer Brian Greenspan.

Nygard was arrested last year under the Extradition Act and faces nine counts in the Southern District of New York.

Authorities there accuse the 80-year-old of using his influence in the fashion industry to lure women and girls with the promise of modelling and other financial opportunities.

He has denied all the allegations.

As usual, the high court gave no reasons for its decision to not examine the case.

Nygard's lawyers had argued there is inconsistency in how courts decide on incarceration when it comes to extradition hearings.

"There's less likelihood that you receive bail if you are charged in a foreign state than it would be if you were charged in Canada," Greenspan said.

Nygard's bail was first denied in February with the judge citing concerns that he would contact witnesses if released.

His lawyers presented the bail hearings with a release plan that included monitoring of all emails and text messages. It also involved an in-home security guard and 24-hour video surveillance.

Federal prosecutors argued that Nygard has the finances and personnel available to help him in obstructing justice.

Nygard appealed that decision and was again denied release in March.

Justice Jennifer Pfuetzner of the Manitoba Court of Appeal said Nygard's detention was necessary to maintain confidence in the justice system, given the enormity of the allegations. She said the allegations, "paint a picture of criminal conduct that was planned, financed and executed on a staggering scale."

Nygard's extradition hearing is to take place in November. The extradition request from the U.S. details accounts from seven alleged victims who are expected to testify in a criminal trial in that country.

The women allege their livelihoods and their movements became dependent on having sex with Nygard. They say they were coerced through financial means or physical force.

Greenspan said Nygard is looking forward to addressing the allegations against him.

"He denies the veracity of the claims against him and the only place that is ever going to be determined is in a trial in the United States," Greenspan said.

Nygard is also the subject of a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. involving 57 women with similar allegations.

Nygard founded his fashion company in Winnipeg in 1967. It grew from a partial stake in a women's garment manufacturer to a brand name sold in stores around the world.

He stepped down as chairman of his company after the FBI and police raided his offices in New York City in February 2020.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 9, 2021.