A trial for three people associated with the polygamous community of Bountiful facing alleged child-related charges began on Monday in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
Brandon Blackmore, Emily Blackmore and James Oler are all facing one count of removal of a child from Canada, with each charge being approved by a special prosecutor in August 2014.
In front of Justice Paul Pearlman, the trial began with a voire dire — a process where prosecution and defence lawyers argue the admissibility of evidence and is expected to run for a weeks.
Evidence presented during the voire dire cannot be reported, however, once the process concludes, the trial will begin in earnest, and is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 14, 2016, in Cranbrook.
Peter Wilson, a special prosecutor appointed by the provincial government four years ago, approved the charges after receiving two reports from the RCMP in July 2013 and January 2014.
The reports included evidence gathered from earlier charge assessments from previous special prosecutors, along with new information collected by law enforcement in the United States investigating members of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints communities in Arizona, Texas and Utah.
According to a government release, the unlawful removal of a child from Canada charges were approved following new information gathered curing the investigations in the U.S., with RCMP receiving a large volume of documentary information seized by American authorities.
Additional charges were considered, namely, alleged offences of sexual exploitation, however, those charges were not approved after Wilson determined that the standard was not met.