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Blackmore denies marrying underage girls in RCMP interview

Court hears recording between Winston Blackmore and an RCMP officer following his arrest in 2009.
Winston Blackmore heads into the Cranbrook Law Courts prior to the start of his trial stemming from polygamy charges.

Crown prosecutors entered a video-recorded interview between RCMP and a member of Bountiful during a continuing trial for two men charged with polygamy in Cranbrook Supreme Court.

Lawyers also introduced birth records for children born to both Winston Blackmore and James Oler, both of whom are adherents to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and are each facing a polygamy charge.

After Blackmore was arrested outside his home near Creston in January 2009, he was transported to RCMP holding cells in Cranbrook, before being interviewed by Sgt. Terry Jacklin.

During the interview, Jacklin questioned Blackmore on his personal history in Bountiful, including his multiple wives and his extended family members, along with increasing media scrutiny following interviews with the CBC in 2003 and CNN in 2006.

“I am who I am,” Blackmore told Jacklin. “I’ve never denied that.”

During the police interview, Jacklin produced a laptop with a video clip that featured a conversation between Larry King of CNN and Blackmore, where the Bountiful leader admitted that one of his wives had been 15 years old when he married her.

Blackmore said her parents lied to him and that they told him she was 16 years old.

When talking to Jacklin, Blackmore expressed fears of incriminating himself without his lawyer present, but didn’t deny his polygamous lifestyle.

“In our faith, there are so many people my age who have never had the chance to get married,” Blackmore said. “With a family like I have, many people have the chance to be jealous.”

Blackmore’s polygamy charge stemming from his 2009 arrest was eventually stayed nine months later by Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein. The charges were thrown out based on Blackmore’s successful argument that the government had gone shopping for a third special prosecutor who was willing to approve charges after the first two declined to do so.

The latest polygamy charge was approved by the current special prosecutor, Peter Wilson, in August 2014, and upheld by a B.C. Supreme Court in a year later.

The trial continues in Cranbrook Tuesday as Blackmore’s first wife, Norma Jane Blackmore, is expected to testify.

Trevor Crawley

About the Author: Trevor Crawley

Trevor Crawley has been a reporter with the Cranbrook Townsman and Black Press in various roles since 2011.
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