Court upholds warrant in Sagmoen uttering threats trial

Curtis Sagmoen leaves the Vernon Court House in September 2019. .
Curtis Sagmoen leaves the Vernon Court House in September 2019. . Megan Turcato / Global News

It’s a boost for the prosecution’s case in the Curtis Sagmoen uttering threats trial.

On Monday morning, Madam Justice Beames upheld a warrant used to search Sagmoen’s family property.

Defence counsel was challenging the warrant, arguing it should be deemed invalid, which would likely have seen evidence found on the property excluded from the trial.

The North Okanagan man has pleaded not guilty to five charges in connection with accusations he threatened a sex-trade worker with a shotgun in August 2017.

READ MORE: Defence challenges search warrant as Curtis Sagmoen case resumes

Sagmoen’s defence lawyer, Lisa Helps, challenged the warrant in court last week by arguing there are problems with the document that police used to get approval for the search.

Helps argued the police application for the warrant was “geared to persuade,” rather than provide full disclosure, and if the problematic portions of the application were excluded, the search warrant would never have been granted.

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In Monday’s judgement, Madam Justice Beames agreed with defence that some portions of the police warrant application shouldn’t have been included.

One example of what Beames ruled should have been left out was the police attempt to link Curtis Sagmoen to the crime through the overuse of the word “there” in texts to the complainant.

First look at interrogation video of Curtis Sagmoen
First look at interrogation video of Curtis Sagmoen

It’s an argument the justice ruled was “speculative and without foundation.”

However, Beames upheld many other sections of the search warrant application that defence had challenged, as well as the warrant itself.

“I’m satisfied that there was evidence upon which the authorizing justice could properly have granted the search warrant,” Beames said.

This was not the first defence bid to throw out evidence.

Earlier this year, Sagmoen’s lawyer was unsuccessful in getting recordings of his interviews with police kept out of the trial.

Further legal wrangling about the admissibility of evidence, including search warrant evidence, is expected in the case.

Judgement reveals details of alleged crime

In issuing Monday’s verdict, Madam Justice Beames went through the police application for a warrant which reveals details about how the case came to police attention.

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Court heard that in August 2017, a 911 call came in about a possibly barefoot woman hitchhiking near a highway around 6 a.m.

According to the police document, the caller reported they found the woman sleeping in their flower garden and that the woman had said she had a rifle pointed at her and had tried to escape by running through the bush.

READ MORE: Court to rule on admissibility of Curtis Sagmoen search warrant evidence

She was found by EMS and taken to the hospital in Vernon.

Police said the complainant told them she’d posted an online ad on a website used by escorts and received a message from someone asking for a two-to-three-hour “play date” and directing her to an address on the same street as Sagmoen’s family property.

According to the RCMP search warrant application, the customer directed her to a second address on the same rural road and it was dark when she drove down a driveway and got stopped at a gate.

The police account says it was when she got out of the vehicle to try and open the gate that she was allegedly threatened with a firearm.

The RCMP warrant application says the woman then tried to back up her vehicle but hit something so she jumped out of her car and ran, losing her shoes in the process.

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Police said the woman told them she believed she ran for two hours and made it to the highway before finding a place to hide overnight.

READ MORE: Curtis Sagmoen outburst caught during police interview

RCMP said her vehicle was found partially in a ditch with one of the front tires blown out.

Tragic discovery puts case in the spotlight

It’s what police eventually found during a search of the Sagmoen family property that has drawn so much attention to the case.

In the fall of 2017, police confirmed they’d found the remains of a missing Vernon teenager.

Sagmoen has not been charged in connection with her death, nor has he been named as a suspect.

Video evidence released from Curtis Sagmoen trial
Video evidence released from Curtis Sagmoen trial