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

Literacy Central Vancouver Island’s IPALS program – parents as literacy supporters in immigrant communities – recently secured another five years of funding from senior levels of government. (Photo submitted)
Literacy program working for immigrant families in Nanaimo

Literacy Central Vancouver Island’s IPALS program sees funding extended another five years

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen to field COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing leads to stabbing in Nanaimo

Suspect arrested on Gabriola Island an hour after incident Wednesday, Feb. 24

The Gabriola Environmentally Responsible Trans-Island Express fleet will be able to move to a new depot facility after receiving more than $187,000 of community economic recovery infrastructure program money from the Province of B.C. (Submitted photo)
Gabriola bus system receives $188,000 from province for depot building

Old fire hall to be retrofitted and serve as new bus terminal thanks to COVID-19 recovery funding

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
Nanaimo-raised singer records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah closes out the movie

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Island teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Ella Donovan with mom Tina outside Fuller Lake Arena before heading onto the ice for practice. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Young Ladysmith skater watches and waits in battle against cancer

Ella Donovan’s tumour began a tumultuous time, but community support eased the burden

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read