Winston Blackmore told police he didn’t know wife was 15 years old: trial

Accused in polygamy trial didn't know wife was 15

CRANBROOK, B.C. — The trial of a British Columbia religious leader charged with polygamy heard Monday that the accused told police he didn’t know a teenage girl’s true age when he married her.

Winston Blackmore is the head of a religious group in Bountiful, a community in southeastern B.C. where residents are known for practising a faith that condones plural marriage.

Blackmore is accused of marrying 24 women. James Oler, a former leader in Bountiful, is also on trial and is accused of having four wives.

In video played at the B.C. Supreme Court trial in Cranbrook, a police officer asks Blackmore about a television appearance where the religious leader admits he married one of his wives when she was 15 years old.

Blackmore responds by saying the girl’s parents lied to him, telling him she was 16.

The footage presented by the prosecution shows Blackmore expressing fears about incriminating himself because his lawyer isn’t present, but he does not deny practising polygamy.

Many people would be jealous of a family like his, Blackmore tells the officer.

“I am who I am. I’ve never denied that,” he is heard saying in the video.

The polygamy trial began a week ago, hearing from an expert on the history of the Mormon church, who explained how the Utah-based Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints broke away from mainstream Mormonism at the turn of the 20th century.

Both Blackmore and Oler served as bishops for the Bountiful congregation of the so-called FLDS.

The court also heard last week from a Texas Ranger involved in seizing hundreds of boxes of documents from a ranch owned by the FLDS in 2008.

Dozens of marriage and birth certificates have been entered into evidence at the trial.

The criminal trial has been more than 25 years in the making, with RCMP first investigating allegations that residents of the isolated, religious community were practising plural or “celestial” marriage in the early 1990s.

The trial is being heard by a judge alone and is expected to last at least two weeks. Norma Jean Blackmore, who is Blackmore’s first wife and Oler’s sister, is expected to testify on Tuesday. (Cranbrook Townsman)

Trevor Crawley, Cranbrook Townsman, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Challengers topple incumbents in several South Island races

2018 civic election ushers in new faces across the CRD

Victoria and Saanich voters elect to move ahead with amalgamation talks

Victoria and Saanich voters have chosen to move ahead with exploring amalgamation… Continue reading

Prank pizzas delivered to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps’ campaign celebration

The fake orders happened throughout Helps’ campaign

VIDEO: Tent city moves to Woodwynn Farm, arrests made

The group is asking the government to provide housing for 60 tent city members

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Canada condemns killing of journalist in Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey

The Saudi government claimed Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a ‘fistfight’

One year to election: Trudeau Liberals gear up for tussles on climate, premiers

Analysts say that the Liberals have reason to be ‘fairly confident’

Most Read