Two men convicted of polygamy in British Columbia to be sentenced

CRANBROOK, B.C.—Two men convicted last year of practising polygamy are scheduled to be sentenced today in a B.C. court.

A special prosecutor has recommended three to six months in jail for Winston Blackmore and one to three months for James Oler.


Winston Blackmore, left, is alleged to have married 24 women in the practise of “celestial” marriage, while James Oler, right, is alleged to have five wives.  (JEFF MCINTOSH / CANADIAN PRESS)

Peter Wilson told the B.C. Supreme Court last month that both men were motivated by sincerely held religious beliefs and are, by all accounts, law-abiding, hard-working and honest.

Blackmore was found to have taken two dozen wives, while Oler was found to have married five women.

Blackmore’s lawyer Blair Suffredine asked Justice Sheri Ann Donegan to consider all possible sentences in the case, including an absolute discharge.

Oler did not have legal representation in court, but a lawyer acted as a so-called friend of the court to ensure a fair trial.

Lawyer Joe Doyle did not recommend a specific sentence but told the court Oler is hard working and imprisonment may not be necessary to deter and denounce polygamy.

The maximum sentence for polygamy under the Criminal Code is five years in prison.

There are only two other convictions for polygamy in Canadian history, but because those cases took place in 1899 and 1906 they do not help in determining sentences for Blackmore and Oler, Wilson said at a sentencing hearing last month.

Blackmore and Oler have been leaders in Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a breakaway Mormon sect that believes in plural marriage. They have both been part of the small community of Bountiful in southeastern B.C.




Commentary from the Ottawa Mens Centre

This is what is called a political prosecution.

If this was four women or four men with each other there would be issue.

What the "state" of BC is doing is making multiple partner relationships illegal

unless there the same gender.

Why should heterosexuals be discriminated against?

Why is the Crown seeking to put these men in jail who have no criminal record

who are only guilty of political incorrectness?

This is the kind of case that deserves an absolute discharge.

What is disturbing is that this is a prosecution by the state for the state

against two men who did not have legal representation.


We can expect to now see many examples of normal people who

enter into multiple partnership agreements. There are literally

thousands of women who are in partnerships who want a man around

the house for their "needs".



Ottawa Mens Centre