During a provincial court case last week in Vernon, the defence for Curtis Sagmoen focused on whether the search warrant police executed on the 38-year-old’s family’s property was obtained on reasonable grounds.
On Monday, Justice Alison Beames determined there was “ample” evidence for grounds to execute a search warrant in September 2017, dismissing defence counsel’s application to have a search warrant ruled invalid.
By end of day, Justice Beames also provided a same-day ruling on the defence lawyer’s application for cross examination of two police officers.
Last week, defence lawyer Lisa Helps’ central argument was hinged on identification — or lack thereof, as she argued — of Sagmoen as the person who threatened the complainant.
“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 filed to a judge when seeking to obtain a search warrant.
She 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.”
Monday, Helps pushed for the opportunity to cross examine two police officers regarding the ITO and some notes it contained. Helps said too, the officers introduced the name “Curtis” in several of their interactions with potential witnesses.
Crown prosecutor Simone McCallum said the defence’s reasoning, however, was lacking materiality and factual foundation. She said a cross examination would not likely produce testimony that would benefit the court and the application for cross examination was “premature without factual foundation.”
Justice Beames sided with the Crown.
Sagmoen, who is accused of threatening a sex worker at gun point in August 2017, is expected to return to court this afternoon and his trial is expected to last two weeks.
“Not every breadcrumb of evidence is the smoking gun or the thing that will make or break the warrant application,” said Crown lawyer 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 Traci Genereaux were found on the property of Sagmoen’s family. So far, no charges have been laid relation to her death.