Sentencing arguments for former husband and wife in B.C. polygamy case

By The Canadian Press
June 29, 2017 - 5:20pm Updated: June 30, 2017 - 1:35am

CRANBROOK, B.C. — A B.C. court will hear sentencing arguments today for a former husband and wife convicted of taking a girl into the United States to marry the now imprisoned leader of their polygamous sect.

In February, Justice Paul Pearlman of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, found Brandon Blackmore and Gail Blackmore guilty of taking a 13-year-old girl across the U.S. border for a sexual purpose.

James Oler, a former leader in the polygamous community of Bountiful, B.C., was acquitted of the same charge after the judge ruled there wasn’t proof he crossed the border with a 15-year-old girl who was later married to a member of the sect.

The trial in Cranbrook, B.C., heard about the polygamous beliefs and practises in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The allegations against the Blackmores, who are or have been members of the church, date back to 2004 when records show the 13-year-old girl was married to Warren Jeffs, the 61-year-old church prophet now serving life in a U.S. prison.

Much of the evidence presented against the Blackmores in the judge-only trial came from the American investigation into Jeffs.

Special prosecutor Peter Wilson drew on records found locked away in a Texas ranch in an effort to prove the marriages took place within days of the accused receiving instructions from Jeffs.

Wilson also focused much of his case on how sex and marriage were viewed in the church. The trial heard from former members who said women were expected to obey their fathers and husbands, have as many children as possible and never turn away their husbands’ sexual advances.

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