Blackmore, Oler appear in court to face polygamy charges

It was a Blackmore family day in the Creston Law Courts on Thursday morning.

  • Oct. 10, 2014 9:00 a.m.
Winston Blackmore

Winston Blackmore

Lorne Eckersley

Creston Valley Advance

It was a Blackmore family day in the Creston Law Courts on Thursday morning, where two leaders of opposing Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints factions appeared to face polygamy charges.

Winston Kay Blackmore sat in the public section of the courtroom, surrounded by eight daughters and a granddaughter. He was represented, on a temporary basis, by Vancouver attorney Alison Latimer and was not required to speak to Judge Grant Sheard. The indictment against Blackmore alleges that he has 24 wives.

James Marion Oler, Blackmore’s brother-in-law, has not retained counsel and requested time to hire a lawyer. The Oler-led faction is said to keep close ties with the followers of Warren Jeffs in the US. Jeffs is currently incarcerated in Texas.

Both cases were remanded until December 4 so that both men could retain counsel.

Also appearing in court were Blackmore’s son, Brandon James Blackmore and his wife, Emily Ruth Crossfield, who are charged with unlawfully removing a child under 16 from Canada with the intent that an offence of a sexual nature would be committed outside of Canada. Neither has retained counsel and Sheard suggested they speak to the Legal Aid lawyer who was in the courthouse at the time.

The husband and wife are followers of Oler’s faction. When asked outside the courthouse if he speaks to his son often, Winston said, “Not for a long, long time.” Their case was also remanded.

No information about the charges was provided in the courtroom, but Crown prosecutor Peter Wilson consented to Latimer’s request that Winston Blackmore should be able to cross into the US because he has family on both sides of the border. Sheard agreed to amend previous conditions that required him to remain in BC or Alberta. Blackmore will still have to report in to the Creston RCMP every other Wednesday.

“He is not a flight risk,” Latimer contended. Wilson agreed.

Oler made a quick exit from the courthouse, avoiding questions from reporters. But Blackmore, dressed in a black suit and tie with a white shirt and wearing a baseball cap with the initials WB (“It’s my son’s,” he said.), stayed outside to do interviews and pose for photographs, including some with his daughters and granddaughters.

“A little bit sick,” Blackmore said when asked how he felt. “I don’t really know that much (about the prosecution’s case). I haven’t seen anything and it’s probably wise not to say anything.”

On facing polygamy charges “again”, he said, “I will absolutely defend.”

How that defence will be made is unclear, as Blackmore said his financial situation prevented hiring Latimer except on an interim basis.

“I’m worried about money,” he admitted.

Asked about how he will carry on with his life with what could be a lengthy trial looming, he said, “We just live one day at a time and we’ll do the best we can.

“It’s Thanksgiving weekend,” he said. “I’m just going to go home and be thankful.”