B.C. polygamy case dismissed

Judge rules former provincial attorney general compromised the case by shopping for prosecutors

Despite former B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal’s best efforts, Winston Blackmore and James Oler won’t face trial on polygamy charges after all. A judge in the province has thrown out the case against Blackmore and Oler, leaders of factions of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ruling that Oppal had effectively shopped for a prosecutor before finding one willing to take the case to court. Before appointing special prosecutor Terrence Robertson to try Blackmore and Oler, Oppal had previously hired Richard Peck and Len Doust to argue that Blackmore’s 19 marriages and Oler’s three marriages constitute breaches of Canada’s Criminal Code. When Peck and Doust recommended getting a court ruling on the constitutionality of anti-polygamy laws, Oppal turned to Robertson, who wasn’t as reluctant to take the case to trial. According to B.C. Supreme Court Judge Sunni Stromberg-Stein, Oppal’s prosecutorial trial balloons were “unlawful.”


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