Mor­mon mom ap­peals con­vic­tion for send­ing daugh­ter to U.S. for co­erced mar­riage

24 Hours Vancouver - - NEWS - DAPHNE BRAMHAM

Emily Ruth Gail Black­more is ap­peal­ing her con­vic­tion on a charge of re­mov­ing a child from Canada for a sex­ual pur­pose.

Black­more, 60, was convicted of hav­ing taken her 13-year-old daugh­ter from Boun­ti­ful, B.C. to the United States in 2004 to marry War­ren Jeffs, the polyg­a­mous prophet of the Fun­da­men­tal­ist Church of Je­sus Christ of Lat­ter Day Saints.

Sev­eral months af­ter the wed­ding, Jeffs raped the girl only a few weeks af­ter her 14th birth­day. An au­dio record­ing of the rape was part of the ev­i­dence in the trial.

In Au­gust, Black­more was sentenced to seven months in jail plus pro­ba­tion. She was also ordered to pro­vide a DNA sam­ple and to be reg­is­tered as a sex of­fender for a decade.

Bran­don Black­more, the girl’s fa­ther, was also convicted. The 71-year-old was sentenced to a year in jail plus pro­ba­tion with the same pro­vi­sion of hav­ing to pro­vide DNA for the reg­istry.

Both par­ents were led away from the Cran­brook court­room in hand­cuffs. It is not known whether Gail Black­more will be re­leased pend­ing the B.C. Court of Ap­peal de­cid­ing on her ap­pli­ca­tion.

Black­more re­fused le­gal coun­sel dur­ing her trial, made no at­tempt to de­fend her­self, and spent most of her days in court read­ing from what ap­peared to be re­li­gious texts.

How­ever, there was a court-ap­pointed am­i­cus whose role was to pro­vide a bal­ance to the po­si­tions taken by spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor Peter Wil­son.

The grounds for the ap­peal were set out in the ap­pli­ca­tion.

Her lawyer Greg DelBi­gio will ar­gue that the judge erred in his find­ing that the cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence was suf­fi­cient to prove guilt be­yond a rea­son­able doubt.

The con­vic­tion, he says, is “un­rea­son­able and can­not be sup­ported by the ev­i­dence.”

The ap­pli­ca­tion goes on to sug­gest that the sen­tence is “un­duly harsh and ex­ces­sive in length” and that the judge “erred in law in find­ing that a con­di­tional sen­tence or­der could not ef­fec­tively ad­dress the ap­pli­ca­ble prin­ci­ples of sen­tenc­ing.”

The re­lief be­ing sought is ei­ther ac­quit­tal or that the sen­tence be re­duced with a con­di­tional sen­tence be sub­sti­tuted for jail time.

The pros­e­cu­tion has not yet filed its re­but­tal. No date has been set for the ap­peal.


Emily Gail Cross­field Black­more (brown dress) and coac­cused James Oler (be­side her) walk­ing in to court Novem­ber 23, 2016.

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