Special prosecutor approves polygamy charges

Four individuals of the Bountiful community facing charges based on ongoing investigations in B.C. and the U.S.

A special prosecutor with the Criminal Justice Branch approved criminal charges against four individuals associated with Bountiful on Wednesday.

Peter Wilson approved the charges, which allege polygamy and the unlawful removal of children under the age of 16 years from Canada with the intention that an act be committed outside Canada would be an offence against section 151 (sexual interference) or 152 (invitation to sexual touching) of the Criminal Code.

Winston Blackmore and James Oler both face charges of polygamy, while Oler also faces a charge for the alleged unlawful removal of a child from Canada.

Additionally, Brandon Blackmore and Emily Crossfield each face a charge for alleged unlawful removal of a child from Canada.

The charges were sworn in Cranbrook while first appearance is anticipated to be on Oct. 9th, 2014, in Creston.

The new charges come on the revelation of new evidence after the RCMP received a large volume of documentation seized by U.S. authorities after investigations into members of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints in Arizona, Texas and Utah.

Crown counsel received two RCMP reports in July 2013 and and January 2014, with some of the material based on evidence that had been considered in earlier charges against Blackmore and Oler.

Those charges were thrown out in 2009 after a judge ruled that former B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal did not have the authority to appoint a third special prosecutor after the previous two recommended against approving charges.

Wilson declined to approve other criminal charges, namely alleged offences of sexual exploitation after determining the standard for approving charges had not been met.

Wilson was sworn in as a special prosecutor in January 2012 with a mandate to offer legal advice to police during their investigation of individuals associated with Bountiful and assess the possible prosecution of sexual exploitation and the alleged offences against minors in the community. Two weeks later, his role was expanded to include consideration of potential offences under the polygamy provisions of the criminal code.

 

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