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Court rejects Sagmoen appeal of 2017 assault conviction

Curtis Sagmoen unsuccessfully argued that the B.C. Supreme Court trial judge who convicted him Feb. 11, 2020 of assault causing bodily harm erred in two ways. Global News

Curtis Sagmoen failed on Friday to appeal an assault conviction relating to a 2017 incident, when he injured a sex-trade worker by driving into her with such force that she was knocked out of her flip-flops.

The North Okanagan man unsuccessfully tried to argue that the B.C. Supreme Court trial judge who convicted him on Feb. 11, 2020, of assault causing bodily harm erred in two ways: first, by not considering the possibility that Sagmoen didn’t intentionally apply the force that caused injury to the woman, and, second, that an apology made to the victim at the scene wasn’t given enough weight.

According to the decision by B.C. Court of Appeal Justice Gregory James Fitch, Sagmoen arranged to receive sexual services from the woman on an out-call basis for an agreed-upon price. When she arrived at his rural property, the appellant Sagmoen was driving a quad.

Read more: Curtis Sagmoen found guilty in North Okanagan assault trial

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“He asked her to follow him on a trail in her vehicle. After her vehicle got stuck in some sand, she agreed to ride with the appellant in the quad further up the trail,” the appeal decision reads.

“When it became apparent that the appellant, who had not paid her, could not even say where he lived, the complainant became concerned.”

She then told Sagmoen she had other things to do and said, “This is getting ridiculous.”

Click to play video: 'Sagmoen found guilty of assault for hitting woman with ATV'
Sagmoen found guilty of assault for hitting woman with ATV

The woman then told Sagmoen she wanted a ride back to her car, but he started pulling fuses and wires out of the quad and she decided she would walk back on her own, down the same road they had used on the way up, without him.

Fitch used testimony from that moment to cast a light on the basis of the appeal.

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Read more: Curtis Sagmoen accused of assault after allegedly hitting woman with quad

“When I heard the quad start up, and it was, like, going really fast, I could hear,” the victim told the court during the 2020 trial.

“And I thought he was just going to be a jerk and, like, you know, kick up some dust and, you know, whatever, but instead of that – ‘cause I had moved to the edge to make room for him to go by. Instead of going by me, he hit me square from behind trying to hit me off the mountain and he hit me so hard I flipped over him and luckily I didn’t lose consciousness.”

She said she was left with a massive lump on the back of her head and a broken tailbone, in addition to bruises and road rash.

When she got up, she testified that Sagmoen “was busy looking for my body down the edge of the cliff, not even once getting off the quad, and I was like, ‘What the heck? Like, why would you do that? Like, what is wrong with you?’”

Click to play video: 'B.C. man sentenced for ATV assault'
B.C. man sentenced for ATV assault

She testified that Sagmoen said he didn’t mean to do it but did not, however, get off his quad, apologize or ask if she was OK.

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“The complainant retrieved her keys from below the edge of the cliff and walked the remaining distance to her car backward and barefoot so as not to turn her back on the appellant,” the decision reads.

Sagmoen never testified and the judge ruled that it was not an accident, and he likely hit her because he was angry when she began walking back to her car.

“He drove his quad at a high rate of speed directly at (the complainant) when she had her back to his oncoming vehicle,” he said.

Read more: Closing statements made in Sagmoen trial; uttering threats charge acquitted

This appeal is not about the reasonableness of the verdict, Fitch wrote. The appellant does not suggest the judge could not reasonably draw an inference that the appellant’s conduct in striking the complainant with the quad was intentional. The central issue in the appeal was whether the judge convicted Sagmoen without finding beyond a reasonable doubt that the collision was the product of an intentional application of force.

“By finding that the appellant was aware of the relevant circumstance and drove directly at the complainant in a likely state of anger, the judge must be taken to have concluded that the application of force was intentional,” Fitch wrote.

Click to play video: 'Sagmoen gun threat trial begins in Vernon'
Sagmoen gun threat trial begins in Vernon

“He considered the appellant’s exculpatory statement and concluded that the appellant’s guilt had been established beyond a reasonable doubt. This finding amounted to a rejection of the appellant’s claim that the collision was accidental and to a conclusion that his claim did not raise a reasonable doubt.”

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Sagmoen has been convicted in two other cases involving victims working as escorts. Those convictions didn’t occur until after the assault with the ATV so the court doesn’t put as much weight on them in sentencing.

In one case, related to a separate incident in 2017, Sagmoen was found guilty of wearing a disguise with intent to commit an offence and use of a firearm during an offence.

He also pleaded guilty to possession of meth.

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