Curtis Sagmoen can be seen leaving the courthouse in Vernon following Day 2 of his trial on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

VIDEO: Tempers flare during Sagmoen’s police interview

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Footage of police interviews with Curtis Sagmoen shortly after his arrest two years ago has been made public.

On Wednesday Crown prosecutor Simone McCallum and defence lawyer Lisa Helps approved footage of the video for publication with Sagmoen’s voice distorted—a condition ordered by Justice Alison Beames. The video contains interviews conducted by RCMP Const. Richard MacQueen with Sagmoen on Sept. 5 and 6, 2017, shortly after his arrest.

At one point in the video, Sagmoen begins screaming inaudibly and lifts up a chair and attempts to throw it across the small interview room. Officer MacQueen jumped in to prevent him from doing so, without needing to resort to any excessive force. Sagmoen apologized for his temper flare-up.

Const. MacQueen clarified in court the “explosive” outburst had come after he’d told Sagmoen a computer had been seized by RCMP and would be searched.

The full version of the video, which is more than two hours long, was shown at Sagmoen’s voir dire trial last week. At that time, it was under a publication ban but on Tuesday, Justice Beames lifted the ban after both CBC and Global challenged its validity in court on Monday.

The full video shows a lengthy rapport-building process by Const. MacQueen, who offered Sagmoen cigarette breaks and at times discussed hobbies the two had in common, such as fishing and hunting.

READ MORE: Sagmoen’s in-custody statements under judge’s scrutiny

As MacQueen’s questions get tougher over the course of the two days, Sagmoen’s demeanor becomes quieter, his head downcast and at times slumped forward in his hands. Const. MacQueen asks questions relating to Sagmoen’s family—something Sagmoen said is of utmost importance to him.

The friendly banter—as well as the questions related to Sagmoen’s family—are the basis of Helps’ defence, who is challenging that Const. MacQueen was using them to induce Sagmoen to talk, or to elicit statements that could be deemed as an involuntary confession.

Const. MacQueen maintained pushing touchy subects is a common tool used by police officers during investigations.

Shortly after Sagmoen’s September 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 of threatening a sex worker at gunpoint while wearing a mask in the 2017 incident.

He pleaded not guilty to five charges on Sept. 9, which included uttering threats, careless discharge of a firearm, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, concealing his face and possession of a controlled substance.

Justice Beames will present her decision on Sagmoen’s voir dire Monday morning.

READ MORE: Vancouver police could be using drones to fight crime by end of year


@VernonNews
newsroom@vernonmorningstar.com

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