Former bishop guilty of polygamy in­volv­ing iso­lated sect in Boun­ti­ful, B.C.

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CANADA -

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.

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