Former bishop guilty of polygamy involving isolated sect in Bountiful, B.C.
CRANBROOK, B.C. — A former bishop of an isolated religious commune in British Columbia has been convicted of practising polygamy after a decadeslong legal fight launched by the provincial government. Winston Blackmore was alleged to have married 24 women as part of so-called ``celestial’’ marriages involving residents in the tiny community of Bountiful.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sheri Ann Donegan said Monday the collective force of evidence against Blackmore proves that he was married to Jane Blackmore and 24 other women at the same time. Blackmore’s lawyer has already told the court that he will launch a constitutional challenge of Canada’s polygamy laws if his client is found guilty.
His co-defendant James Oler is accused of having five wives and Donegan has yet to announce a verdict for him. Donegan said the evidence proves that Blackmore has been a practising member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a breakaway Mormon sect that believes in plural marriage.