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Canadian polygamous leader wants charges dropped

Canadian polygamous leader wants charges dropped

A polygamous community in western Canada has asked a court to dismiss polygamy charges it faces or order the government to pay legal costs.
Lawyer Bruce Elwood told a British Columbia Supreme Court judge Monday the government went "prosecutor shopping" in order to lay charges.
In January, authorities arrested Winston Blackmore, 52, and James Oler, 44, who lead rival polygamous factions in Bountiful, a town in southeastern British Columbia. Blackmore is charged with marrying 20 women and Oler is accused of marrying two women.
Elwood told the court that former provincial attorney general Wally Oppal rejected two independent special prosecutors recommendations that charges not be filed. Charges were filed after a third prosecutor agreed with Oppal.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Blackmore, who has about 400 followers in Bountiful, once ran the Canadian arm of the Utah-based Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but was ejected in 2003 by that group's leader, Warren Jeffs. Oler is the bishop of Bountiful's FLDS community loyal to Jeffs.
FLDS members practice polygamy in arranged marriages, a tradition tied to the early theology of the Mormon church. Mormons renounced polygamy in 1890 as a condition of Utah's statehood.


Updated : 2021-08-01 09:12 GMT+08:00