Judge rules police action lawful in first stage of Sagmoen trial | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Judge rules police action lawful in first stage of Sagmoen trial

Curtis Sagmoen leaves the Vernon courthouse Sept. 9.
September 23, 2019 - 12:59 PM

VERNON - A Supreme Court judge has ruled statements given by Curtis Sagmoen to police in the first 24 hours of his custody can be used in his ongoing trial.

Defence lawyer Lisa Helps had argued the treatment of Sagmoen by police following his arrest showed a "pattern of disregard" for his rights and argued statements he gave to police during this period should be thrown out of court.

However, Justice Alison Beames dismissed the lawyer's arguments today, Sept. 23, saying there was no evidence of police wrongdoing.

Sagmoen is standing trial for charges surrounding an incident in August 2017, where he allegedly pointed a shotgun at an escort near his parents' Salmon River Road farm where he lived in a trailer.

Sagmoen also has another trial slated for December where he is facing one charge of assault causing bodily harm.

A month and a half after the incident Sagmoen is currently standing trial for, the remains of Tracy Genereaux's body were discovered on his family's property. No charges have been laid in relation to that case.

The judge's decision follows the first four days of Sagmoen's trial which started Sept. 9.

At the beginning of the trial lawyers entered into a voir dire - a sort of trial within a trial - where the defence argued statements Sagmoen gave to police following his arrest weeks after the August 2017 incident should be deemed involuntary.

The court was shown over the first four days of trial step by step interactions between police and Sagmoen following his arrest.

Over the lengthy proceedings, the court saw how Sagmoen got upset, and at one point attempted to throw a chair, when police mentioned the accused parents when he was being interviewed.

The defence lawyer argued police had used Sagmoen's family as a "lever" to induce statements.

Helps also argued Sagmoen's right to access a lawyer had also been denied, he had not been read his rights the second day he was in custody and had been deprived of sleep.

Crown counsel Simone McCallum disputed this, saying Sagmoen had repetitively been told his rights and he had refused a lawyer. She also said the accused had been offered food and slept.

Judge Beames agreed.

"He was offered regular meals at the detachment, he got some sleep before the first statement," Justice Beames told the Vernon court.

"I do not accept that statements made about Sagmoen's mother... amounted to any manipulation, threats or inducements," she said. "I am satisfied that the crown has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the statements were voluntary."

The trial is tentatively scheduled to resume in December, although it may begin at an earlier date.

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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