Notifications

Former Bountiful bishop says polygamy conviction should be struck from record

Winston Blackmore's lawyer will attempt to have his polygamy conviction stricken from the record.

Lawyer will argue Canada's polygamy law was nebulous and untested

Winston Blackmore was found guilty of one count of polygamy this year. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Winston Blackmore, Canada's first convicted polygamist in modern history, is back in court in Cranbrook, B.C., arguing his conviction should be stricken from the record.

Blackmore, 60, and James Oler, 53, both former bishops in the fundamentalist community of Bountiful, B.C. were convicted of practising plural or "celestial" marriage in June 2017.

Oler was accused of having five wives and Blackmore, 24 wives. Neither denied having multiple marriages and Blackmore has fathered more than 145 children from his marriages.

Blair Suffredine, legal counsel to Blackmore, will cite abuse of process and argue that because Blackmore was excommunicated from the polygamist sect in Bountiful, his marriages were essentially annulled.

He also said that Canada's polygamy law drawn up over 100 years ago was nebulous and untested, and had not been upheld until a test case five years ago.

He'll argue that because Blackmore's marriages occurred before that reference case, they were not illegal.

The hearing is expected to last two days, and Blackmore himself is expected to testify.