Two former leaders of a fundamentalist church in Bountiful charged with polygamy are expected to learn their fate in a Cranbrook courtroom Monday.
BC Supreme Court Justice Sherri Ann Donegan has been presiding over the trial of Winston Blackmore and James Oler who the crown allege took part in multiple marriages.
Blackmore is accused of having 24 wives and Oler allegedly married five women.
Evidence used during the 12 day trial this Spring included marriage and personal records seized in 2008 at a Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints compound in Texas.
Special Prosecutor Peter Wilson suggests marriage records, police statements and testimony prove Blackmore and Oler are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Blackmore’s lawyer Blair Suffredine questioned the reliability and argued some of the documents are inaccurate and inconsistent.
Suffredine also argued Crown should not only have to prove the existence of plural marriages but that a conjugal relationship with each alleged wife was sustained which he says they did not.
Joseph Doyle is acting as the Amicus Curiae, or friend of the court, because James Oler is representing himself in the hearing.
Doyle echoed concerns about the reliability of the records and suggests the Crown has not provided evidence to prove Oler practiced polygamy.
The decades long battle battle began in the 1990s when RCMP first investigated so-called “celestial” marriages in the isolated community outside of Creston.
However, in 2011, the court ruled laws prohibiting polygamy were valid and did not violate religious freedoms guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.