A media ban muting the coverage of 38-year-old Curtis Sagmoen’s voir dire hearing was lifted with a few conditions on Tuesday morning.
Media outlets presented arguments against the ban on Monday, and Justice Alison Beames responded by lifting the ban at the Vernon Law Courts with defence lawyer Lisa Helps, Crown prosecutor Simone McCallum and a lawyer representing the CBC and Global on a conference call. Sagmoen was present via a video screen from his locked cell.
Media are attempting to obtain video from the previously blacked-out voir dire hearing. Any video or audio published will need to be edited with Sagmoen’s voice distorted beyond recognition – a condition Beames gave upon lifting the ban.
The video is expected to be released by the court registry this afternoon.
The lawyer representing the media put forward his argument on Sept. 16, to ease a publication ban effectively blocking the trial of Curtis Sagmoen, but Beames surprised some by putting into effect a secondary publication ban sheltering the presentations. In essence, a publication ban was ordered on a publication ban hearing.
Justice Beames had expected to have her decision on both the voir dire—a trial within a trial—and the publication ban by Monday, however due to delays, she decided to resume court Tuesday morning via conference call with Crown prosecutor Simone McCallum, defence lawyer Lisa Helps and the lawyer representing the media. Her decision on the voir dire will now take place on Monday, Sept. 23.
Sagmoen is accused of threatening a sex worker with a shotgun while wearing a mask in August 2017. He has been charged with uttering threats, careless discharge of a firearm, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, concealing his face and possession of a controlled substance. Sagmoen pleaded not guilty on all five counts on Sept. 9.
Sagmoen was first arrested in September 2017 in connection to his alleged crimes in late August of that year.
Shortly after his 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.
Sagmoen has been accused in four separate incidents of threatening or assaulting sex workers.
This includes an incident in Maple Ridge in 2013, which Sagmoen pleaded guilty to in February.
For those charges, he was sentenced to 30 days in jail followed by 24 months of probation.