The London Police Service has been given access to evidence that was collected during Hockey Canada’s third-party investigation into an alleged group sexual assault of a woman by members of the 2018 world junior hockey team after a gala fundraiser in the Ontario city five years ago.
This evidence includes interviews with coaches, witnesses and accused players, as well as text messages, social-media content and videos.
The order to turn over the materials was given by Ontario Court Justice Michael Carnegie, according to two sources with knowledge of the proceedings. The Globe and Mail is not naming the sources because they are not authorized to speak about the decision.
Last October, London police investigators filed a 94-page court document with the Ontario Court of Justice stating they had reasonable grounds to believe that five players sexually assaulted a woman in a hotel room in the early morning hours of June 19, 2018. The application asked a judge to approve warrants and production orders, including for the “fruits of the investigative file” collected by lawyer Danielle Robitaille, who was hired by Hockey Canada to investigate the incident.
London police spokesperson Constable Sandasha Bough did not respond to questions about whether the materials had been turned over, saying only: “The investigation is active and ongoing. When the investigation is complete, we will update the public.”
In a statement, Hockey Canada spokesperson Jeremy Knight said the sports body is co-operating with the London police.
“As you know, Production Order proceedings are conducted in camera and the court’s endorsements and decisions are made under seal. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for us to comment on these specific proceedings, including their status,” he wrote.
This is the second time that the London police have investigated the allegations against the players. A 2018 probe was closed without charges. But a year ago this month, TSN reported that Hockey Canada had quietly settled a multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought forward by the woman. The Globe reported that money for the settlement came from a fund built by registration fees, without disclosing it to parents and players.
The revelations ignited a firestorm against the organization, resulting in high-profile departures and the federal government temporarily freezing the sports body’s funding and conducting hearings into its conduct.
In March, MPs on the parliamentary committee examining Hockey Canada’s handling of the matter passed a motion ordering the organization to hand over Ms. Robitaille’s report.
Hockey Canada told MPs it would turn over the report, but its lawyers sent a letter to the committee saying they were concerned that if details were to leak, it could jeopardize aspects of the police investigation.
“It would be most unfortunate if this committee’s order interfered with a criminal investigation in this manner and potentially compromise the integrity of that investigation,” said the March 28 letter from Hockey Canada lawyer Andrew Winton, which was obtained by The Globe.
In light of the concerns, Conservative MP Kevin Waugh said the committee decided to put the order on pause to give the investigation more time.
“We’re in a holding pattern right now,” Mr. Waugh said.