61-year-old Winston Blackmoor, a famous polygamist in Canada, the Canadian court found guilty of possessing 24 wives and sentenced to six months of house arrest. The man is married to 24 women and is the father of 149 children. And the nine wives of Blackmoor barely reached the age of 18, and four were only 15 when he married them.
Blackmoor – Mormon and in the past was the bishop of the schismatic Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When the judge read the verdict, numerous relatives and supporters of the polygamer cried. Blackmoor himself stated: “I am guilty of living according to my religion, and that’s all I will say today. I will never change my faith. “
In addition to the 61-year-old Mormon, his son-in-law was also judged, 53-year-old James Olhler, who is married to five women. Olera was found guilty of polygamy and sentenced to three months of house arrest.
Crown lawyers argue that a fundamentalist Mormon leader should have relied on legal precedent instead of public statements from the provincial government for clarity on Canada’s criminal polygamy laws. Winston Blackmore, who was found guilty of practising polygamy in a fundamentalist religious community, speaks with reporters outside court in Cranbrook, B.C., Monday, July 24, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
According to court documents, Blackmoor married 24 women between 1990 and 2014. Under Canadian law, the maximum penalty for polygamy is five years in prison. Previously, Blackmoor did not plead guilty, and his lawyer stated that the law violated the religious rights of members of the Bountiful-settlement community, which was founded in 1946 and where 1,500 polygamists live.
Supporters of Winston Blackmore pose for a photo outside court in Cranbrook, B.C. on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. A special prosecutor says two leaders of a religious sect in B-C who were convicted of polygamy must be sentenced to jail time to deter others. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Gemma Karstens-Smith
At the courtroom of Blackmoor, his supporters with placards waited
Judge Sheri Ann Donegan said that in this case it is difficult to choose a fair punishment for two accused, because they are both hard-working and law-abiding citizens. However, the court could not release them just because the crime was committed and Blackmoor made it clear that he does not repent. “He said that no sentences will not keep him from faith and religion.”
In the case law of Canada there were only two cases of accusations of polygamy – in 1899 and 1906.
To the numerous Blackmoor family, the prosecutor’s office has been eyeing for a long time – the last 20 years the man was tried to be brought to trial. However, the law on violation of the rights to freedom of religion interfered. And in 2011 the court still ruled that the consequences of polygamy give sufficient grounds for limiting these freedoms. In 2014, Blackmoor and Olera were brought to trial.