Sentencing for child removal trial set for Friday

Two Bountiful members were found guilty of facilitating underage marriage of their daughter.

Emily Ruth Gail Blackmore (left) is set to be sentenced alongside her husband Brandon Blackmore after being found guilty of removing an underage child from Canada to be married to a man in the US. Jim Oler (right) was also charged with the same offence, but he was acquitted.

Emily Ruth Gail Blackmore (left) is set to be sentenced alongside her husband Brandon Blackmore after being found guilty of removing an underage child from Canada to be married to a man in the US. Jim Oler (right) was also charged with the same offence, but he was acquitted.

The sentencing for a couple associated with a polygamous community near Creston, who were found guilty of bringing their underage daughter across the American border to marry a fundamentalist religious leader, will be sentenced on Friday in Cranbrook.

Brandon James Blackmore and Emily Ruth Gail Blackmore were found guilty of a child trafficking law back in February, while a third accused, Jim Oler, was acquitted.

All three are associated with Bountiful and were charged with the removal of a child of a child from Canada under a criminal code subsection that their removal would facilitate sexual interference or sexual touching. The two children, who were daughters of the accused, were married to men involved with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) during ceremonies in the United States back in 2004.

While the verdict was delivered in February, the courts have been waiting for a pre-sentencing report. According to the Criminal Code of Canada, the maximum punishment is up to five years in prison.

The removal of a child from Canada trial resulted from charges approved by Peter Wilson, a special prosecutor appointed by the government, in August 2014.

Wilson’s case relied heavily on religious records seized by American law enforcement during a raid on an FLDS compound in April 2008. According to FLDS doctrine, record-keeping is a key aspect of the faith, as what is sealed on Earth is also sealed in Heaven, which is why marriage, personal and priesthood records were so securely stored in a bank-like vault inside the main temple building.

The Crown pointed to priesthood records from FLDS leader and prophet Warren Jeffs, who called Brandon Blackmore to tell him a revelation from God that involved marrying his daughter.

“The Lord had revealed that his 13-year-old daughter belonged to me and we would discuss that when he brought her down south sometime Friday. I am praying the Lord to touch his heart to receive the Lord’s will,” reads the record, which was ruled admissible by Justice Paul Pearlman.

Other evidence included testimony from former members of Bountiful, birth records and school records confirming that the daughters were underage at the time of their marriages.

Oler was acquitted after Pearlman found that there was no evidence to prove Oler was in Canada when Jeffs ordered him to bring his daughter to the U.S. to marry an American man.

There were no records from US Customs and Border Protection indicating Oler had crossed the border with his daughter. A former Bountiful member, who’s identity is protected by a publication ban, testified that she crossed the border with her family in a van and stopped at a rest area, where another van containing Oler and his daughter arrived.

The witness testified everyone transferred into the newly-arrived van with Oler and his daughter before heading down to Nevada and the wedding ceremony.

“On the totality of the evidence, I am left with a reasonable doubt that Mr. Oler did anything in Canada for the purpose of removing [his daughter] from this country,” wrote Pearlman.

Though Oler was acquitted, Wilson is launching an appeal, according to a media release from the Criminal Justice Branch.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

Tri-Kon will be delivering concrete barriers on Friday afternoon for a patio space that will be shared between Soulfood Farm to Table and Sakura.Trevor Crawley photo.
Outdoor patios in the works for downtown core

Efforts already underway to set up outdoor patios on Baker St. from four local business

The BC Wildfire Service will be conducting an ecosystem restoration burn near the old Kimberley airport next week. BC Wildfire Service file.
Ecosystem restoration burn planned for old Kimberley airport area next week

Burn could begin as early as Monday, April 12, 2021

From wall hangings to plant hangers, keychains and shelves, Radiant Knots creates a variety of pieces to suit for any taste and style.
Cranbrook Arts is Looking Radiant

Cranbrook Arts Featured Artist for the month of April is Radiant Knots.… Continue reading

The Peach is adhering to the mandatory mask protocols put in place by the Provincial Health Officer on Nov. 19. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Interior Health doesn’t echo B.C.’s daily COVID record

80 new cases reported Thursday, April 8, compared to 91 the day prior

The new 6,300 square foot Cranbrook Food Bank facility is located at 1624 Industrial Rd 2 and is open to the public Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
New Cranbrook Food Bank officially open to the public

The new facility is located at 1624 Industrial Rd. 2 and open Monday, Wednesday, Friday

A large illuminated heart was installed on the roof of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital May 1, 2020. (VJH Foundation photo)
Three deaths linked to COVID-19 outbreak in Vernon hospital

Interior Health reports two additional deaths at VJH

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

A man wears a face mask past the emergency department of the Vancouver General Hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Calls for stricter action in B.C. as COVID-19 variants projected to climb

Jens von Bergmann says the province has taken a ‘wait and see’ approach when early action is needed

Vancouver’s park board general manager issued a new order Friday restricting tents and other temporary structures from being set up in Strathcona Park after April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver park board issues order to restrict tents in Strathcona Park

The order issued Friday restricted tents and other temporary structures from being set up after April 30

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning says the players who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 are recovering and the team still intends to play a 56-game season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks players ‘mostly on the other side’ of COVID outbreak: general manager

The athletes have had a “whole range” of COVID-19 symptoms, said team physician Dr. Jim Bovard, but no one has needed to be hospitalized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read