Crown looks to ‘build the jigsaw puzzle’ on Day 2 of Sagmoen trial

Defence questions whether search warrant police executed was obtained on solid grounds Thursday

The trial of Curtis Sagmoen, accused of threatening a sex worker at gun point near Falkland in August 2017, continued in BC Supreme Court in Vernon on Thursday, Dec. 5, and is set to enter day two this morning.

Justice Alison Beames heard the full submission of defence counsel Lisa Helps and the partial submission of Crown Attorney Simone McCallum.

Helps’ central argument hinged on identification — or lack thereof, as she argued — of Sagmoen as the person who threatened the complainant.

The defence also focused on whether the search warrant police executed when searching Sagmoen’s property was obtained on reasonable grounds.

“There needs to be a nexus between the crime committed and the place the police seek to search,” Helps said.

Helps argued there was no such nexus to be found in the Information to Obtain (ITO) document, which police officers file to a judge when seeking to obtain a search warrant.

Helps scrutinized an affidavit that contained statements from neighbours of the Sagmoen property, which were used by police as grounds for obtaining the warrant. Those statements she dismissed as “small-town gossip.”

Leaving aside the statements she deemed to be hearsay, Helps argued repeatedly that the only description of Sagmoen police gave to connect him to the crime scene was that he was wearing “a black T-shirt and black pants.”

The Crown’s submission was limited to the final 45 minutes of the hearing, but McCallum had time to dismiss the idea that there is an identification issue concerning Sagmoen.

“Not every breadcrumb of evidence is the smoking gun or the thing that will make or break the warrant application,” said McCallum, adding that little pieces of identification start to “build the jigsaw puzzle that brings Mr. Sagmoen within the police’s frame for investigation.”

In October 2017, the remains of Tracy Genereaux were found on the property of Sagmoen’s family. So far no charges have been laid relation to her death.

In the morning before court came into session, a protest was held by supporters of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls on the steps of the Vernon Law Courts.

The trial continues Friday, Dec. 6, at 9:30 a.m. and will carry on for two weeks.

READ MORE: Sagmoen expected in Vernon courts for trial start

READ MORE: Justice rules police did not coerce statement from Sagmoen


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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