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Charged 2018 World Junior players elect trial by jury

Dillon Dube, Cal Foote, Alex Formenton, Carter Hart, Michael McLeod Dillon Dube, Cal Foote, Alex Formenton, Carter Hart, Michael McLeod - Getty Images

Content Warning: The following article contains references to sexual assault.

Five former members of Canada’s 2018 World Junior hockey team who have been charged with sexual assault have elected to have a trial by jury, their lawyers said.

“Earlier this week, all five players selected a trial by jury, and they are confident that jurors drawn from the community will decide this case fairly and impartially after hearing all the evidence and testimony,” lawyers representing the accused players wrote in a joint statement to TSN.

The Globe and Mail first reported on the lawyers' statement earlier today. The players' request to be tried together was granted during a court appearance Tuesday in London, Ont., according to the Globe.

Criminal lawyers not involved in the case have been divided about whether a trial by judge or jury would be more advantageous for the players. 

A trial date in the case probably won't be set until at least this spring.

London police have charged Michael McLeod, Dillon Dubé, Carter Hart, Cal Foote and Alex Formenton with sexual assault. McLeod faces an additional charge for "being a party to the offence." Each has denied the accusations.

All five of the players are on leave from their professional teams.

The players are charged in connection with an alleged sexual assault that took place in June 2018 following a Hockey Canada event in London, Ont.

 A woman described in court documents as E.M. alleges that she agreed to leave a London bar and have consensual sex with one of the players.

She alleges that after they were done, the player secretly texted World Junior teammates and invited them to come to his hotel room to also have sex with her. E.M. alleges that she was then sexually assaulted for several hours and that the players forced her to record two cellphone videos saying that she had consented to the sexual activity.

London police initially investigated E.M.’s allegations before closing the case in February 2019 without laying charges because the lead detective didn’t believe there was enough evidence.

In May 2022, TSN reported Hockey Canada had – without consulting any players involved in the alleged incident – quietly settled a $3.55-million lawsuit brought by E.M. against Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and eight unnamed players in connection to the alleged attack.