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London police apologize for delay in sexual assault case involving World Junior hockey players

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The five members of 2018 Canadian World Junior hockey team that won a gold medal did not appear in person for their first court appearance in London, Ont. on Monday.

Instead, the lawyers for Dillon Dube, Cal Foote, Alex Formenton, Carter Hart and Michael McLeod spoke on behalf of their clients. They all face sexual assault charges stemming from an alleged sexual assault involving a woman in 2018.

The matter was the first thing dealt with in courtroom number four at the London courthouse and it was all over in approximately 20 minutes with no plea being entered at the time.

Later in the day at RBC Place, the London Police Service spoke publicly about the case for the first time at a news conference.

Many of the questions from the media surrounded the delay in getting to this point.

“It’s not something that I’m happy about that it took six years,” said London Police Chief Thai Truong. “Our members are not happy about this either and that is why I want to apologize to the victim and her family.”

In June of 2018, the five accused were in London for a Hockey Canada golf tournament and gala months after their gold medal win. Despite a police investigation following a complaint from the woman, no charges were laid at the time.

In 2022, a lawsuit was settled out of court with the 20-year-old woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by the men at a downtown London hotel.

London police investigators now allege a similar chain of events.

“The accused and several teammates met the victim at a downtown bar and later invited her to a downtown hotel room,” said Truong. “The initial investigation conducted from June 2018 to February 2019 concluded without charges.”

The five men, now all in their 20s, were ordered to report to London police headquarters to be charged and were released with conditions.

In court on Monday, the case was put over for 12 weeks, giving the lawyers time to receive disclosure from the Crown. The matter is back in court on April 30.

A ban on publication of evidence was placed during Monday’s proceedings.

None of the charges against the five players have been proven in court.  

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