Polygamy hearing arguments

The B.C. Supreme Court is hearing final arguments for and against the constitutionality of polygamy.
For the first time, cameras were allowed into a B.C. courtroom for an almost-live broadcast, the CBC's Eric Rankin reports 2:11

Starting Monday, the public will be able to remotely watch the B.C. Supreme Court challenge over the consitutionality of polygamy, or having multiple marriage partners.

Chief Justice Robert Bauman is hearing final submissions from lawyers arguing over whether Canada's anti-polygamy laws violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Students play basketball on April 28, 2008, in the polygamist community of Bountiful near Creston, B.C. (Joe Sales/Associated Press)

The hearings were spurred by the controversy over the fundamentalist breakaway Mormon sect of Bountiful, B.C., where two leaders were charged with polygamy in 2009, only to see those charges dropped on technical legal grounds.

The broadcast is a rare experience for Canadians, whose access to courtrooms via video camera and broadcast has been restricted.

Bauman has allowed cameras to record and to broadcast the closing statements in the polygamy case, subject to a 10-minute delay.

Under the agreement, the judge reserves the right to terminate the feed at any time.

The arguments will be broadcast online by CBC and other media partners and will run roughly from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. PT, Monday to Friday from March 28 to April 9.