Thirteen demonstrators laid signs and demanded justice for lost sisters April 22, 2021, as Curits Wayne Sagmoen’s cop assault charge went before the court. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)

Thirteen demonstrators laid signs and demanded justice for lost sisters April 22, 2021, as Curits Wayne Sagmoen’s cop assault charge went before the court. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)

Sagmoen to stand trial in Vernon for cop assault

Trial is estimated to last five days, defence lawyer says

An estimated five-day trial is in the future for a high-profile North Okanagan man Curtis Wayne Sagmoen for an assault charge involving a peace officer.

In a call Thursday, defence lawyer Lisa Helps said she’s sent a detailed charter notice to the Crown.

More than a dozen demonstrators returned to the Vernon courts calling for justice for lost sisters April 22, as the 121-day-old matter went before the courts once again. It had been delayed several times since Sagmoen’s first scheduled arraignment hearing which was slated for Feb. 11, 2021.

Among those dressed in red and chanting outside the courthouse was Bill Darnell.

Fittingly, considering it was Earth Day; Darnell is a Greenpeace founder who calls Vernon home. But just like his battles to better the environment, he too wants to see justice served in the name of those who have been lost. Like Traci Genereaux, whose remains were found on the Sagmoen farm in 2017.

No charges have been laid in connection with Genereaux’s death.

The incident before the courts Thursday coincided with a police search warrant at Sagmoen’s place of residence on his parent’s Salmon River Road property on Oct. 29, 2020.

Earlier that month, police visited the farm after an alert of suspicious activity. At that time, RCMP released a photo of Sagmoen — who is notorious for crimes against sex trade workers — and issued a warning in the interest of public safety.

An arrest warrant was briefly issued for Sagmoen man after his lawyer failed to appear April 8. It was rescinded hours later after defence lawyer Lisa Helps made an appearance in the afternoon, Crown communications counsel Dan McLaughlin said.

That day, prominent Indigenous rights activists joined dozens of protesters. Among them was Gladys Radek of Terrace — she was one of the activists involved in drawing initial attention to the Highway of Tears, a corridor from Prince George to Prince Rupert that has been a locus of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls for more than 50 years.

A Gitxsan/Wet’suwet’en First Nations woman, Radek said the delays in Sagmoen’s hearing reflect a broader trend in cases of missing and murdered women and girls, pointing to the national inquiry that concluded two years ago and the many women who have gone missing since the inquiry’s final report.

“It’s a waiting game with the justice system.”

Before the matter moves further, a date must be set for the mandatory criminal pre-trial. The date for this pre-trail will be set Monday, May 3, at 9:30 a.m.

*Editor’s note: A previous version of this story said a not guilty plea was entered. In a charter application, as is this case, no plea is entered. This story has been corrected to reflect the proper information.

READ MORE: Warrant for Sagmoen’s arrest rescinded

READ MORE: ‘There needs to be more accountability’: Protesters impatient with Sagmoen court process


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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