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.

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

Just Posted

Columbia Shuswap Regional District staff reviewed its policies around health and safety after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. (File photo)
CSRD reviews COVID-19 policy after employee tests positive

City of Salmon Arm says only one of its staff has tested positive since March

Salmon Arm Secondary student Karly Irmen collected almost 300 lbs of food for the Salvation Army Food bank and dropped it off on Tuesday, Jan. 19. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm Secondary student organizes 295-lb food bank donation

A large amount of clothes was also collected to support local Salvation Army

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES)
Overdose calls spike in 2020 across the Okanagan – Shuswap

Stats show every major community in Okanagan - Shuswap increased in calls for potential overdoses

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Charlotte is one of the resident pigs at Star's Piggly Wiggly's Sanctuary near Kelowna. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Kelowna-area pig sanctuary needs a new home

Star’s Piggly Wiggly’s Sanctuary is looking for properties in Vernon, Coldstream, and Enderby

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
One in five tests in Fernie area coming back positive: doctor

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
From the “You can’t make this stuff up” file – stories from the BC CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

A cow moose wanders around the Silver Star Elementary School neighbourhood Tuesday, Jan. 19. (Contributed)
Public provoking blamed for moose chasing Okanagan residents

‘The problem is people are bugging it’ conservation officer

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Vancouver Island paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Kale. (AStoko/Pixabay image)
Column: Kale, a vegetable worthy of admiration

Great Outdoors by James Murray

Most Read