Winston Blackmore, a polygamous leader associated with Bountiful, near Creston, was found guilty of practicing polygamy in Cranbrook Supreme Court on Monday, July 24, 2017. (Trevor Crawley photo)

Blackmore set to launch charter challenge

Bountiful polygamist leader back in Cranbrook Supreme Court next week.

The ongoing legal battle of a fundamentalist polygamist leader is heading back to Cranbrook Supreme Court next week.

Winston Blackmore, through his lawyer Blair Suffredine, will launch a constitutional challenge in front Justice Sheri Donegan on Tuesday, arguing that his charter rights were violated when he was charged with polygamy.

This is the first case of polygamy that’s ever been criminally prosecuted in the 127-year history of the law.

READ: Blackmore found guilty of polygamy in landmark trial

James Marion Oler, a co-accused who was also charged with the same offence alongside Blackmore, indicated during his last appearance that he will not be making any similar submissions.

Both were found guilty of practicing polygamy in Bountiful, a small community south of Creston that is associated with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). Justice Donegan delivered her ruling in July, however, a conviction won’t be formally recorded until the constitutional challenge issue is addressed.

Lawyers, including Special Prosecutor Peter Wilson, along with Joe Doyle, a friend of the court who is present to ensure a fair trial for Oler, reconvened in Cranbrook earlier in November. That hearing was delayed after Suffredine did not file court documents by mutually agreed-upon deadlines.

Leading up to, and during the start of the polygamy trial, Suffredine had indicated he would not be filing a charter challenge, however, when the Crown closed its case, he announced his intent to file a notice of application.

The eight-day trial wrapped up in May after hearing evidence that included testimony from Blackmore’s first wife, Jane Blackmore, along with experts on mainstream Mormon church doctrine and history. RCMP investigators also testified while marriage and personal records seized in Texas in 2008 during a raid on an FLDS compound were also submitted as evidence

The polygamy charges were announced in 2014 after the BC government appointed Wilson as the special prosecutor in 2012.

His appointment followed the appointment of a string of special prosecutors who declined to approve polygamy charges against Blackmore, citing fears that a criminal prosecution would fail based on a constitutional charter defence.

That process resulted in a constitutional reference case that tested the constitutional valid of Section 293 (polygamy) in the Criminal Code of Canada. That ruling, delivered in 2011 by Justice Robert Bauman in BC Supreme Court, concluded that charging a person with polygamy does not violate their religious freedom rights.

Just Posted

German researcher seeks info on Trail airman

John Dunlop McVie of Trail, died in a plane crash over Germany on Sept. 24, 1944

Volunteers needed to shelve books in new Trail library

Hours are Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. until noon, and 1-5 p.m. until the job is done

RDKB emergency calls climb in 2017

Annual RDKB dispatch stats are provided to East End directors during budget deliberations

Encore RLOP show at The Bailey

Romantic comedy, romantic piano, and I, Tonya this weekend in Trail

Critical Condition: ‘People are dying from treatable medical conditions’

Problems with ambulance service policies are systemic and province-wide, advocacy group leader says.

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

Canadian support split on Trans Mountain pipeline debate: Poll

Angus Reid poll surveying Canadians on pipeline stance finds no clear winner

Tired of ‘big city life’? One-stoplight town hosts contest to lure in city slickers

Contest by BC Rural Centre hopes to attract city folks to a small town in the Kootenays

Student protest outside White House a snapshot of American gun debate

Demonstrators take part in a student protest for gun control legislation in front of the White House

Feds can’t do much to fight fake news in Canada

Federal government can’t do much to fight fake news: Canadian Heritage documents

Canada’s Boutin wins silver in women’s 1,000 short track

Women’s 1,000-metre short-track speedskater Kim Boutin wins silver the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Thursday

Ry Cooder coming to Vancouver Island MusicFest

American music icon to play in Comox Valley July 14

Team USA beats Canada 3-2 on the shootout to take home Olympic gold

Americans win their first gold medal since 1998

Two Haida men detained for crossing U.S.-Canada border

Edenshaw and Frisby travelled from Alaska to Prince Rupert for the All Native Basketball Tournament

Most Read