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
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