The lawyer for a Bountiful man convicted of polygamy is expected to ask for a stay of proceedings in a Cranbrook courtroom Tuesday.
Winston Blackmore and James Oler are challenging a landmark BC Supreme Court decision in July that found both of them guilty of having multiple wives.
The proceedings are set to resume after being unexpectedly adjourned last month when Special Crown Prosecutor Peter Wilson argued new evidence filed at the last minute by Blackmore’s lawyer Blair Suffredine made it unfair to continue on with the case at that time.
It’s anticipated Suffredine will submit two prejudices occurred against his client during this decades long process.
The first alleges a 1992 announcement by the province’s then Attorney General said polygamy was lawful and Blackmore was told no charges would be laid against him and his religous practices were protected.
Therefore, Suffredine suggests this means Blackmore was prosecuted for actions he was told were legal.
The other involves evidence gathered during a raid on a Texas ranch in 2008.
Suffredine submits the Crown would not have had hundreds of marriage records discovered seven years ago at the Yearning For Zion Ranch, when this investigation initially started in the early 1990s.
The timelines of the accusations have been framed from 1990 – 2004.
2004 was when Blackmore’s first marriage to Norma Jane Older was dissolved by divorced.
Suffredine asserts no polygamous relationship can exist after 2004 as there is no legal marriage in existence once that happened.
Blackmore is accused of marrying at least 24 women over the last 25 years.
Another aspect of the appeal suggests Crown abandoned the application for particulars at the beginning of the trial when it said an offence would only be made out if there was both a legal marriage and a subsequent ceremony to another person while the legal marriage existed.
Defense will argue a ceremony performed when there is no legal marriage registered under British Columbia laws is not an offence by stipulation at the commencement of the proceeding, and rather a church blessing that is not recorded under law amounts to a common law marriage.
Suffredine submits only three church blessings precede the execution of a search warrant in 1991.
The BC Supreme Court ruled in 2011 laws banning polygamy were valid and did not violate religious freedoms.
Oler is representing himself in the proceedings and supporting aspects of the appeal.