UPDATED: 11:28 a.m.
Entering guilty pleas to a lesser included charge has resulted in an absolute discharge on Curtis Wayne Sagmoen’s mischief matter.
Clad in red judicial system regalia, Sagmoen, 38, sat quietly with his head against the wall as Crown prosecutor Juan O’Quinn presented the joint submission to senior provincial court Judge Edmond de Walle in Vernon Law Courts today, Dec. 13.
Originally facing one count of mischief $5,000 or under, Sagmoen pleaded guilty to mischief causing damage to property.
“I’m asking for a plea of not guilty to the information as laid and instead would enter a plea of guilty to mischief as damage to property,” defence lawyer Lisa Jean Helps clarified.
Court heard that the victim, whose name is being withheld due to a court-ordered publication ban, was driving in the Salmon River Road area on July 19, 2017. The driver descended the long driveway at 2310 Salmon River Road, to which Helps later admitted that Sagmoen had access, where she ran over a homemade spike belt crafted from a dark-coloured wooden board and nails.
“She discovered that her tires were flattened,” O’Quinn said.
The tires were later plugged and repaired at Kal Tire in Salmon Arm.
“He (Sagmoen) agrees he was aware that (the victim) was driving on that particular road on July 19, 2017. She was in a 2014 Jeep Cherokee. He agrees that he knew the spike belt was present on that particular laneway,” O’Quinn said. “He agrees he failed in taking steps to warn (the victim) that the spike belt was there and would damage her vehicle.”
Helps said there are several mitigating factors in the case and noted Sagmoen’s lack of criminal record and the willingness to avoid a trial that, while scheduled for one day, could have likely gone longer due to the 12 witnesses the Crown sought to call.
“I am asking that the court impose the joint submission,” Helps said. “There was no damage to people. The damage was remedied by Kal Tire and in all of the circumstances I say the joint submission is appropriate.”
Judge de Walle supported the joint submission for an absolute discharge and said that the guilty plea is also a significant mitigating factor in this case.
“I’m satisfied that an absolute discharge would meet the principles of sentence,” de Walle said. “A judge always has to take into account the circumstances of the particular offender before the court and the circumstances of the charge that’s being dealt with. In these circumstances, I’m satisfied that an absolute discharge is a fit and proper sentence.”
Sagmoen was fined one day in default of the $200 victim surcharge, which court heard he was unable to pay due to being in custody on other matters currently before the courts.
A resolution has been found before the mischief trial for Curtis Sagmoen could begin. Crown prosecutor Juan O’Quinn asked for the file to be stood down momentarily for discussions with defence to continue. Court will reconvene shortly. #VernonBC @VernonNews— Parker Crook (@MrParkerJCrook) December 13, 2018
Jody Leon, an organizer of the rallies that occur every time Sagmoen is in Vernon Law Courts, said it was disconcerting to see the accused behind the glass.
“I think it’s always a bit shocking to hear and see someone who has the allegations of the nature that Sagmoen does,” Leon said.
Sagmoen was committed to stand trial on one count of assault and one count of assault causing bodily harm after the conclusion of a preliminary inquiry Monday, Dec. 10. On that file, Sagmoen will appear next Jan. 7, 2019 to fix a date.
A second and unrelated Vernon matter will also see Sagmoen stand trial on counts of disguising face with the intent to commit an offence, intentionally discharging a firearm while reckless, use of a firearm committing an indictable offence, uttering threats and possession of a controlled substance. That file is also set for a fix date appearance Jan. 7.
While no charges of violence against women against Sagmoen have been proven in court, his case has become a catalyst for sparking discussion of missing and murdered North Okanagan women.
“We continue to want to have answers for those questions with respect to the lives of women that have been stolen in our nation area. In the Splatsin Nation, the first woman went missing in 1966 and, of recent, we have the death of Traci (Genereaux) as well as four other women that have gone missing,” Leon said.
“That is why we continue to come back and we will continue to come back. We’re not going to give up any time soon.”
Leon said that rallies are planned for Sagmoen’s five-day trial in Port Coquitlam, in which he faces unrelated assault charges, that begins Feb. 4
UPDATED: 10:19 a.m.
Curtis Sagmoen has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of mischief causing damage to property. Judge de Walle granted an absolute discharge on the file.
UPDATED: 9:49 a.m.:
A resolution has been found before the mischief trial for Curtis Sagmoen could begin. Crown prosecutor Juan O’Quinn asked for the file to be stood down momentarily for discussions with defence to continue. Court will reconvene shortly.
It is expected that defence and the Crown will present their agreed statement of facts and seek sentencing today.
Almost 10 months after the charge was laid, and nearly 17 months after the offence was alleged to have occurred, the mischief trial for Curtis Wayne Sagmoen begins.
Sagmoen, facing one count of mischief $5,000 or under, will be in Vernon Law Courts today at 9:30 a.m.
The trial comes three days after Sagmoen was committed to stand trial on one count of assault and one count of assault causing bodily harm after the conclusion of a preliminary inquiry Monday, Dec. 10. On that file, Sagmoen will appear next Jan. 7, 2019 to fix a date.
A third Vernon matter will also see Sagmoen stand trial on counts of disguising face with the intent to commit an offence, intentionally discharging a firearm while reckless, use of a firearm committing an indictable offence, uttering threats and possession of a controlled substance. That file is set for a fix date appearance Jan. 7.
Sagmoen is also remanded in custody on separate assault charges currently before the Port Coquitlam courts. A five-day trial on those charges begins Feb. 4.
None of the charges against Sagmoen in any of the files have been proven in court.
Jody Leon said a rally will take place on the Vernon Law Courts steps today as the trial is underway. The rally, which is in support of missing and murdered women, has occurred for each of Sagmoen’s Vernon appearances.
Leon said they rally in support of missing local women, which includes Caitlin Potts, Ashley Simpson, Deanna Wertz, Nicole Bell and 18-year-old Vernon woman Traci Genereaux, whose remains were found on a Silver Creek farm owned by Sagmoen’s parents. No charges have been laid connected to her death and no suspects have been named by police.