VANCOUVER — From Tuesday's Globe and Mail Last updated on Wednesday, Jul. 01, 2009 02:48AM EDT
Mr. Oppal went "shopping" for a special prosecutor who would proceed with a criminal charge of polygamy, Mr. Blackmore's lawyer, Bruce Elwood, said yesterday in submissions asking the court to dismiss the matter on a procedural issue before the trial on polygamy begins next April.
Richard Peck was appointed as a special prosecutor after Mr. Oppal disagreed with government lawyers who questioned the constitutionality of the law on polygamy. Mr. Peck concluded that the government should test whether the law was constitutional. Mr. Oppal did not agree and asked lawyer Len Doust to review Mr. Peck's decision. After Mr. Doust offered the same advice, Mr. Oppal appointed Terry Robertson to take a fresh look at the same case, Mr. Elwood said.
The decision of a special prosecutor is supposed to be the final word, Mr. Elwood said. The legislature created the position of special prosecutor in the early 1990s to assure the public that high-profile decisions involving politicians, police or others would be independent of political influence, he said.
A special prosecutor has authority to make a final decision to avoid any risk, real or perceived, of interference in politically sensitive cases, he said. The need to assure the public that the decision was free of influence from either side was paramount, he said.
"The Attorney-General has simply created the illusion of independence by appointing lawyer upon lawyer to do the charge assessment until he got the answer he wanted," the lawyer told the court.
If the attorney-general is free to continually have decisions of one special prosecutor reviewed by another prosecutor, "the odds are eventually the decision will be different. There are just two outcomes," Mr. Elwood said. Special-prosecutor shopping "seriously taints the administration of justice and renders the perception, if not the fact, of an oppressive and unfair prosecution," he said.
Mr. Oppal, who was attorney-general when Mr. Blackmore was charged, was defeated in the recent B.C. provincial election, but the government position has not changed.
In the first court case on polygamy since the Charter was adopted, Mr. Blackmore has been charged with being in a polygamous relationship with 19 women contrary to the Criminal Code. The maximum penalty for polygamy in Canada is five years in prison.
Mr. Blackmore is a former bishop of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a religious community of about 1,000 people in southeastern B.C. that encourages multiple marriages as an article of faith. Jim Oler, a member of a different faction in the community, faces charges for marriage to three women.
Mr. Elwood said Mr. Blackmore's prosecution was without lawful authority and the criminal charge should be quashed.
Mr. Blackmore should not be required to spend his own funds when the primary issue in the criminal trial is the constitutionality of the law, he said. Rather, the law could be tested by way of a reference to the court, he said.
Mr. Robertson is expected to elaborate on his submissions as the trial continues today.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
The Premier of British Columbia has engaged in one of the most flagrant
abuses of process in Canadian history.
The B.C. Premier might as well want to re-litigate the Salem Witch Hunts as attempt to convict Mr. Blackmore of religious and political heresy.
A long list of B.C. best and brightest minds in criminal law told the B.C. Premier that there was no real possibility of a conviction.
This prosecution has about the same chance of success of telling every participant of Montreal's or Toronto's gay pride festival not to have more than one relationship at one time, the prosecution of Mr. Blackmore will result in charter rights for polygamists which will become increasingly offensive to those who believe in marriage between one man and one woman.
The B.C. Premier has yet another problem, is he going to place limits on the number of times in one year that a person can marry and obtain a divorce?
One can legally marry and divorce virtually as often as one can afford, and there is nothing saying that consenting adults cannot live together or maintain relationships after separation and or divorce, if they were "legally married".
Just throw in a church with a underlying cause of polygamy and you can imagine just how fast those pews will fill.
Mr. Blackmore has done more for Canada than perhaps any other "father" in
Canada, he has over 100 children, in a country with a declining birth rate which
promises to be Canada's biggest financial problem ever.
Canada has a financial interest in promoting marriage between men and women in marriages that produce children, not endless childless marriages between those who can't make children together or don't wish to create children but take advantage of a society where every aged person lives of the income generated by a younger generation.
The government needs to focus on the issue, and that is the best interests of children to have a mother and a father, and an equal right to live with both after separation.
The government needs to address the most serious issues first, not the most ridiculous and the greatest abuse of process in Canadian legal history.
The Government, can start, by politicians of all persuasions supporting the proposed legislation for a legal presumption of equal parenting after separation.
Currently, there incredible disincentives towards one man having multiple wives and a large number of children each.
Just one wife and two kids is enough to put one man into poverty and without resources to marry another woman unless of course she already is receiving support for two children who already exist.
While child support guidelines remain as a punitive damages to impoverish men, Canada's birth rate will further decline and it is only a question of time, perhaps many years before the penny finally drops on the stupidity of feminist theories of Male Gender Apartheid which is now enshrined in Canadian Judge made Law that nothing less than a war on men, in which the B.C. Premier somehow sees himself as a night in shining armour.
No doubt, the B.C. Premier and those with a religious agenda, will not like
the comments on this article.
Now just watch as the posts appear and then disappear before your eyes.