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
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
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