First stage of Sagmoen trial wraps up in Vernon court | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon News

First stage of Sagmoen trial wraps up in Vernon court

Curtis Sagmoen leaves the Vernon court house Sept. 9, 2019.

VERNON - Lawyers wrapped up their arguments yesterday afternoon, Sept. 12, at the end of the first stage of Curtis Sagmoen's trial.

The trial of the North Okanagan man facing charges for an incident where he allegedly threatened a sex worker with a gun, started Sept. 9 but so far almost all details from the courtroom are barred due to a publication ban.

At the beginning of the trial lawyers entered into a voir dire - a sort of trial within a trial - and Justice Alison Beames, at the request of defence lawyer Lisa Helps, placed a publication ban on any of the evidence or submissions given during the voir dire.

Justice Beames hinted she may make her decision regarding the voir dire as early as Sept. 16, the same day a lawyer for the CBC will be in court arguing against the publication ban.

According to an application filed by the defence, a publication ban is necessary to cover the voir dire, as information released in the voir dire will "touch on two other investigations." The document states one of these investigations is an assault causing bodily harm charge scheduled for trial this December. The other investigation "counsel understands is ongoing and could result in murder charges," reads the document.

While no charges have been laid in the case, the body of Tracy Genereaux was discovered on Sagmoen's family's Salmon River Road property in October 2017.

Sitting in the Vernon courtroom with his feet shackled, Sagmoen fidgeted and often took notes throughout the proceeding. The 38-year-old is facing five charges, including covering his face with intent to commit an offence, intentionally discharging a firearm while being reckless to the life or safety of another person, threatening to cause death or bodily harm while using a firearm, uttering threats and possession of methamphetamine. The incident is alleged to have taken place Aug. 27 and 28, 2017.

While the publication ban has blocked any media frenzy surrounding the trial, daily protests have taken place outside the courtroom each day - with around two dozen protesters banging drums and chanting 'justice.' Several of the protesters have been a daily fixture in the courtroom each day, following the trial from the public gallery.

Although the decorum from the gallery has been quiet, at one point insults were directed at Sagmoen, moments before the judge arrived in the courtroom. At the request of Sagmoen's lawyer, Justice Beames addressed the gallery clearly stating those who did not follow the rules would be removed from the courtroom.

If CBC's lawyer is successful in overturning the publication ban, details from the first four days in court will be able to be reported in the near future.

The trial is scheduled to resume sometime in December, although the lawyers and judge have said it may start earlier depending on their schedules.

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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News from © iNFOnews, 2019

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