Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.

No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

No further charges are expected against individuals associated with a community infamous for practicing polygamy, according to the B.C. Prosecution Service.

A special prosecutor has announced there will not be additional charges stemming from investigations into Bountiful, a community south of Creston that was founded by a fundamentalist Mormon sect that practices polygamy as part of its religious doctrine.

In 2014, Peter Wilson was appointed by the provincial government to assess evidence submitted by police to Crown lawyers and recommend charges if warranted.

Wilson approved and prosecuted polygamy offences against Winston Blackmore and James Oler, who were accused of practicing polygamy — a central religious doctrine in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).

Both Blackmore and Oler were tried and found guilty in 2017, and sentenced to six months, and three months house arrest, respectively, along with community service.

Charges of removing a child from Canada were also approved by Wilson against three Bountiful individuals as the result of evidence that underage child brides were taken from the Bountiful community and married to American men associated with the FLDS in the United States.

Brandon James Blackmore and Emily Ruth Gail Blackmore were found guilty, while James Oler was acquitted. The acquittal was overturned on appeal and a new trial was ordered. Oler was found guilty in the second trial.

Additional charges of removing of a child from Canada against three unnamed individuals were also considered, but not approved, according to Wilson.

The announcement ends Wilson’s mandate of assessing charges recommended by police in the Bountiful investigations.

Further counts of sexual exploitation relating to those investigations were not approved due to a number of problems identified in the charge assessment process, according to Wilson.

Those issues include lack of a complainant or uncooperative witnesses, difficulty establishing the necessary culpable relationship, and the public interest in prosecutions involving women who reject the notion that they are even victims of a crime.

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