Province appeals acquittal of B.C. man found not guilty in child-bride case

Province files appeal in B.C. child-bride case

CRANBROOK, B.C. — A special prosecutor will ask British Columbia’s Court of Appeal to overturn the acquittal of a former leader of a polygamous community who was found not guilty of taking a girl across the border for sexual purposes.

The province’s Criminal Justice Branch says prosecutor Peter Wilson has filed an appeal asking that James Oler either be convicted or that a new trial be held.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge found Oler not guilty earlier this month, saying the Crown had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the man had crossed the border with a 15-year-old girl who was later married to another member of the polygamous church.

Oler, who represented himself at the trial, was a leader in the community of Bountiful, B.C., where the trial heard plural marriage was practised.

The same trial resulted in the conviction of estranged husband and wife Brandon and Gail Blackmore, who were found guilty of taking a 13-year-old girl into the United States to marry polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs.

The Blackmores will be sentenced April 13.

The Canadian Press