The trial of Curtis Sagmoen heard the final submissions from defence and Crown on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 at the Vernon Law Courts. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)

The trial of Curtis Sagmoen heard the final submissions from defence and Crown on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 at the Vernon Law Courts. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)

Sagmoen trial awaits judge’s decision

Crown’s case hinges on circumstantial evidence regarding Sagmoen’s identity

The trial of Curtis Sagmoen is nearing its conclusion as Crown and defence made their final submissions in BC Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Sagmoen is accused of having threatened a sex trade worker with a firearm while wearing a mask at his family’s Salmon River Road property in August 2017. On Tuesday, the court heard from the alleged victim and complainant in the trial, who recounted the incident before the court.

The complainant, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, described a night that saw her drive to Salmon River Road to meet with a person who had responded to an ad for her escort service by text. After a series of events that have been discussed in minute detail in previous trial hearings, she ultimately ended up running barefoot in fear for her life after being approached by a man with a shotgun and a concealed face.

Defence lawyer Lisa Helps had no intention of denying that it was her client who texted the complainant asking her to meet him on Salmon River Road for a “playdate” in August 2017.

“I’m not going to be arguing that there’s no link between Curtis Sagmoen and the person texting the complainant. In fact, I think that that has been well established.”

Instead, her focus was on whether Sagmoen was, beyond reasonable doubt, the masked assailant. She argued that complaints of theft from neighbours around the time of the offence indicated there was more suspicious activity in the area than the Crown was conceding.

Crown attorney Simone McCallum was direct in arguing there could be no other reasonable inference than that Sagmoen — a man with a documented history of having contact with sex workers, who was familiar with the property and had experience with firearms — was the assailant.

McCallum reminded the court of the complainant’s description of her assailant, who she said emerged from the bushes as she pulled up to a closed gate at the property.

“That has all the hallmarks of somebody who is expecting their target to arrive,” she said.

“The rational inference here, as I said at the beginning, is that (the complainant’s) assailant is her customer. And her customer was Mr. Sagmoen.”

McCallum conceded that the complainant’s testimony did not provide much in the way of identifying Sagmoen. The incident had taken place around 11:30 p.m., and the complainant said she had been unable to see much of anything in the dark.

With no smoking gun in terms of a clear identification of Sagmoen at the scene, the Crown’s case will hinge on circumstantial evidence.

“The Crown must point the court to other circumstantial indications of identity,” McCallum said.

Justice Alison Beames will make her decision and state her reasons on Friday, Dec. 20, at 10 a.m.

READ MORE: Threats charge dropped in Curtis Sagmoen trial

READ MORE: Man gets 15 months in jail for B.C. toddler’s snake-venom death


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

A Salvation Army bell is rung by Michael Cronin as he staffs the charity’s red donation kettle in front of a grocery store, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Lynden, Wash. The familiar ringing of handbells has gone silent at many Canadian shopping malls this year as the Salvation Army tries to cope with COVID-19 rules at a time of dropping donations. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Elaine Thompson
Record-breaking Christmas for Vernon Salvation Army

$640K and significant food donations pour into local organization ahead of holidays

A 2002 F350 was stolen from a Whitevale home sometime overnight Jan. 14. (Contributed)
Truck stolen near Lumby overnight

Lifted Ford stolen from Whitevale Road

Nate Brown photo
Okanagan-Shuswap says goodbye sunshine, hello winter

Temperatures are forecasted to drop by mid-next week

The Lavington Community Association shared this image of the final support beam installed at Jeffers Park in 2020. (Lavington Community Association - Instagram)
COVID-19 halts plans to open Lavington ice rink

Skaters won’t be able to enjoy the newly erected roof at Jeffers Park this season

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
13 more cases of COVID-19 tied to Big White Mountain cluster

This brings the total case count to 175, of which 32 cases are active

RCMP on scene at a home on Sylvania Cres. (Phil McLachlan /Capital News/FILE)
Two Kelowna men arrested after Rutland home invasion

Two Kelowna men, including a prolific offender, facing slew of potential charges

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Real estate sales in the South Okanagan grew by more than any other part of the province in 2020. (Marissa Tiel - Black Press)
South Okanagan fastest growing real estate market in B.C.

There was over $1 billion in residential sales in 2020

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The facility in Summerland has 112 long-term care beds. Interior Health funds 75 of the beds. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Six more months for temporary South Okanagan long-term care facility administrator

The temporary administrator was appointed following site visits and concerns from Interior Health

Most Read