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Lawyers for 5 ex-Canadian world junior hockey players in sex assault case appear briefly in court

Lawyers for 5 former Canadian world junior players accused of sexual assault made brief court appearances on Tuesday in London, Ont., as the defence and prosecution work out dates to determine how and when the case will proceed.

The lawyers were in virtual assignment court without the accused — Cal Foote, Dillon Dubé, Michael McLeod, Alex Formenton and Carter Hart.

The players aren't expected to appear in court until early September, during pretrial motions — when lawyers argue about what evidence should be presented when the case goes to trial before Ontario Superior Court Justice Bruce Thomas.

On Tuesday, it was determined the judicial pretrial will be presided over by Regional Senior Justice Renee Pomerance. Judicial pretrials are opportunities for defence and prosecution lawyers to go over concerns or disagreements about the case with the defendants, jury or media present. 

Pretrial motions will be held Aug. 7. That's when Thomas will hear arguments about what evidence each side does or does not want admitted, for example. 

McLeod and Foote of the New Jersey Devils, Dubé of the Calgary Flames, Hart of the Philadelphia Flyers and former NHLer Formenton all face one count of sexual assault. McLeod is also charged with one count of being party to the offence.

The alleged incident in a London hotel room dates back to June 2018, following a Hockey Canada gala after the world junior team had captured a gold medal.

A publication ban is in place to protect the identity of the woman as well as two witnesses.

All of the players have pleaded not guilty and have requested a jury trial.