Curtis Sagmoen can be seen leaving the courthouse in Vernon following Day 2 of his trial on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. On Monday, Supreme Court Justice Alison Beames ruled Sagmoen gave statements to RCMP in a video interview of his own free will. His lawyer had been seeking to have the interview deemed inadmissible. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

Justice rules police did not coerce statement from Sagmoen

Defence had been seeking to have Curtis Sagmoen’s video interview with police deemed inadmissible

The Crown has scored a small victory in the case of Curtis Sagmoen.

Justice Alison Beames ruled Monday morning that statements the accused made in police interviews will be admissible in trial proper.

Sagmoen has been accused of threatening a sex worker at gunpoint while wearing a mask in a 2017 incident.

He pleaded not guilty to five charges on Sept. 9, which included uttering threats, careless discharge of a firearm, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, concealing his face and possession of a controlled substance.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Police interview with Sagmoen made public

Defence lawyer Lisa Helps had been seeking to have her client’s statements deemed inadmissible.

Justice Beames sided with the Crown saying prosecutor Simone McCallum has proven beyond a reasonable doubt the statements made were of Sagmoen’s own volition and were not coerced by police investigation techniques.

The justice noted police can’t investigate without putting forward questions, however statements made as a result of calculated or threatening questions are inadmissible.

The Crown argued police followed protocol and Sagmoen was treated with respect. He was read his rights, had his charges explained and was offered access to legal counsel on several occasions, of which he denied. He told police repeatedly he had already spoke to a lawyer, referring to the roadside phone call he made to legal aid at the time of his arrest on Sept. 5, 2017. RCMP Const. Richard MacQueen offered additional comforts through regular smoke breaks.

It was the conversations held during several smoke breaks and in the interview room at the Vernon RCMP Detachment recorded by Const. MacQueen that were being considered in the voir dire hearing beginning on Sept. 9.

On tape, Sagmoen can be seen and heard discussing topics ranging from hobbies, his dog and his mother. At one point in the video, Sagmoen begins screaming inaudibly and lifts up a chair and attempts to throw it across the small interview room. Const. MacQueen jumped in to prevent him from doing so, without needing to resort to any excessive force. Sagmoen apologized for his temper flare-up.

Sagmoen’s demeanor changes when discussing sensitive subjects including his employment, cellphone and computers.

As Const. MacQueen’s questions get tougher over the course of the two days (Sept. 5-6), Sagmoen becomes quieter, his head downcast and at times slumped forward in his hands.

Sagmoen told Const. MacQueen on several occasions throughout the interviews he would speak to him, or answer specific questions if the officer would turn off his recorder.

Shortly after Sagmoen’s September arrest, his parents’ farm was the focus of an extensive search, where police discovered the remains of Traci Genereaux, 18, who had been missing.

No charges have been laid in connection to her death.


@VernonNews
roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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