Prosecutors outside the province will review Manitoba’s decision not to press charges against Peter Nygard
The Manitoba government is reviewing a decision not to press charges against former fashion mogul Peter Nygard.
Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said on Thursday the government will seek crown lawyers from another province to review evidence brought forward more than a year ago.
The review could lead to charges, Goertzen said, but there are no guarantees.
“I have no idea what the outcome will be. I thought it was important for people’s trust in the justice system,” he said.
“I thought it was important because I was concerned. It bothered me that we saw allegations in other places, but there could be a good reason for that.”
Nygard faces two sexual charges in Quebec and nine in Ontario, dating back to the 1980s.
Authorities in the United States have requested his extradition to face charges of sex trafficking and extortion in that country.
Nygard, 81, has denied all allegations.
In Winnipeg, Nygard’s hometown, police announced last year that they had submitted eight cases to the Crown for consideration, but prosecutors decided not to press charges. As usual, there were no details on how that decision came about.
Since then, some women have come forward in Manitoba, saying they were victims of Nygard and were not given a full reason why no charges were filed. Goertzen said he has heard those concerns.
“We’ve all heard from those who have come forward with their stories, and it bothers me and it’s kept me awake,” Goertzen said.
Goertzen said if the decision is again not to press charges, he wants to provide some explanation without risking jeopardizing other investigations or trials.
‘Sometimes we are a bit too careful’: Goertzen
“I know there are certain barriers we can’t cross…I think sometimes we are a little overly cautious.”
Dougald Lamont, Manitoba’s liberal leader, who has worked with some of the Winnipeg women who have come forward, was pleased with the news of the review.
“There were real questions about … why people were told their charges were not accepted,” Lamont said. “It’s a glimmer of hope.”
Nygard founded his fashion company in Winnipeg in 1967. He stepped down as chairman after the FBI and police raided his New York City offices in February 2020.
Nygard International later filed for bankruptcy.