Canadian prosecutor won’t file more charges in polygamy case
(Jeff McIntosh | The Canadian Press via AP, file) Supporters of Brandon Blackmore, Gail Blackmore and James Oler arrive at the courthouse in Cranbrook, British Columbia, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. A special prosecutor in Canada has declined to approve any further charges, ending years of investigations and charge assessments.
Victoria, British Columbia • A special prosecutor in Canada has declined to approve any further charges against people associated with the community of Bountiful, British Columbia, where a fundamentalist sect practices polygamy.
The decision from special prosecutor Peter Wilson brings the matter to a close after years of investigations and charge assessments, the B.C. Prosecution Service said in a statement this week.
Wilson’s mandate included considering the possible prosecution of people accused of sexual exploitation and other alleged offenses against minors, as well as polygamy-related offenses, the prosecution service said.
“A significant problem common to all of the proposed sexual exploitation counts is that they would have to be prosecuted with uncooperative witnesses,″ he said.
The complainants, according to their statements and police reports, “seem content with their situation as plural wives,″ he said, adding They “emphatically rejected any notion that they are now or were ever victims” and the result is a case that would “turn entirely on circumstantial evidence.″
James Oler and Winston Blackmore, two rival leaders of the Utah-based Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, were convicted in a B.C. court of practicing polygamy in 2018 and sentenced to house arrest and probation.
Oler was also convicted and sentenced to 12 months in jail last year for taking a 15-year-old girl into the United States to be married.
Two other members of the Bountiful community have been convicted for removing a 13-year-old girl across the border.