‘Humanitarian concerns’ cited at extradition appeal hearing for Peter Nygard


Lawyers for a former Canadian fashion mogul asked the Manitoba Court of Appeal to reconsider a United States extradition order, citing concerns over Peter Nygard’s health if he were to serve time south of the border.

They were in a Winnipeg courtroom Wednesday to argue against three issues in the order, and are requesting federal Justice Minister David Lametti address them.

Lametti issued the order in March 2022, requiring the 81-year-old be sent to the United States once his Canadian court cases are settled.

Nygard was first arrested in Winnipeg in 2020 under the Extradition Act after he was charged with nine counts in New York, including sex trafficking and racketeering charges.

U.S. authorities allege he used his position in the fashion industry to lure women and girls.

The disgraced fashion entrepreneur faces similar charges in Canada. In Toronto, where he is currently in custody, Nygard has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault and forcible confinement, and is scheduled to face trial in September.

A complainant in Montreal came forward with allegations that led to Nygard being charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement. The trial in Quebec is expected to take place next year.

Nygard waived his appearance at the Manitoba Court of Appeal hearing.

He has maintained his innocence.

Lawyers for the founder of the defunct global women’s clothing company, Nygard International, are asking for Lametti to ensure their client would not be housed at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Centre due to “humanitarian concerns” over Nygard’s age and health.

Brian Greenspan, Nygard’s lawyer, told the Manitoba Court of Appeal that conditions at the facility were “terrible.” He argued that being at the detention centre could undermine his client’s health.

“Those concerns can be simply addressed and easily addressed by the minister,” Greenspan said.

Lawyers for the justice minister told the court the Metropolitan Detention Centre submitted a report showing the facility was in good shape.

Greenspan also argued the racketeering charge shouldn’t be considered because Canada does not have a comparable offence.

“It does not matter if the surrender offences have different elements than the Canadian offences,” Scott Farlinger, the justice minister’s lawyer, told the court.

Greenspan is also requesting assurances that Nygard will not be involuntarily or indefinitely imprisoned after serving a sentence if convicted.

The panel of three judges have reserved their decision.

   This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 26, 2023.

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