Vernon News

Curtis Sagmoen's trial started today; here's why we can't tell you about it

Curtis Sagmoen leaves the Vernon courthouse today, Sept. 9.

VERNON - North Okanagan resident Curtis Sagmoen pleaded not guilty today to a number of charges involving a sex worker who was threatened with a gun but if you want to know any more details you'll have to be at the courthouse yourself — so far the proceedings are under a publication ban.

Although the trial lasted all day, Crown lawyer Simone McCallum requested a publication ban be put in place on any evidence discussed during a voir dire - a kind of trial within a trial.

While a publication ban on witnesses and victims' names during a trial is generally standard practice, a publication ban of the proceeding of the trial is rare in a trial where a judge sits alone.

Justice Alison Beames told the court as much saying the publication ban request was "unusual."

"This is a small community (and) this is a fairly big event in a small community," McCallum told the court. "We have witnesses that are likely to be vulnerable."

Defence lawyer Lisa Helps supported the application for a ban on publication.

Justice Beames granted a temporary publication ban and asked members of the media if they wanted to challenge the ban. Global News and CBC stepped forward and said they may challenge the ban. If it goes ahead, their legal challenge will be heard before the trial continues Sept. 10.

Sitting in the courtroom with his feet shackled, Sagmoen pleaded not guilty to five charges including disguising his face with intent to commit an offence, intentionally discharging a firearm, using a firearm to commit an offence, uttering threats and possession of methamphetamine.

The charges stem from an incident that took place near Falkland on Aug. 27 and 28, 2017, and were previously reported to have taken place on or near Salmon River Road.

Crown counsel stayed three other charges of careless use of a firearm, pointing a firearm and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

As the voir dire continued throughout the day, no more details from today's proceedings can be reported.

Sagmoen also has another upcoming trial scheduled for December. He was facing two charges of assault and assault causing bodily harm, but the assault charge was stayed by the Crown in March, leaving only the assault causing bodily harm charge.

In November 2017, police announced they had found the remains of missing teen Traci Genereaux on Sagmoen's family's River Road farm. No charges have been laid in connection to her death.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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