Brandon Blackmore (pictured) and Emily Ruth Gail Blackmore are both convicted for the removal of a child from Canada charges and were in Cranbrook Supreme Court on Friday to attend a sentencing hearing.

UPDATE: Crown asks for jail time for Bountiful polygamy case

Sentencing hearing begins for polygamy members and parents who took teenage daughter to marry leader

Prosecutors argued that a formerly married couple associated with the polygamous community of Bountiful who broughttheir 13-year-old daughter into the United States to marry a religious leader should spend between six to 18 months in jail.

Peter Wilson, a special prosecutor appointed by the provincial government, made his arguments in front of Justice PaulPearlman in Cranbrook Supreme Court at a sentencing hearing for Brandon James Blackmore and Emily Ruth Gail Blackmore.

After hearing arguments, Pearlman reserved his decision until August 11, 2017, where he will return to Cranbrook to deliverhis ruling.

Brandon Blackmore and Emily Blackmore were convicted of the removal of a child from Canada under section 273.3 of theCriminal Code in February — the very first time that particular charge has been prosecuted in Canada.

Following the delivery of the verdict in February, Pearlman ordered a pre-sentencing report.

RELATED: Life in Bountiful under trial microscope

Wilson argued the need to balance denunciation and deterrence given the potential for similar situations that could occur inthe future with the polygamous community of Bountiful, which adheres to religious doctrine as set out by theFundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS).

“Deterrence might have particular importance in this case because other persons who could potentially commit the offenceare, I would say, a fairly narrow group,” Wilson said.

“Given the circumstances and given that this involved the beliefs of theFLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), the likely group of potential offenders is probably smalland could very well be limited to other adherents of the FLDS, at least as it is espoused by Mr. [Warren] Jeffs, so there maybe a real opportunity here to affect some deterrence of those potential offenders.”

Though the former couple was convicted in February, the child removal incident occurred in 2004 when they took theirdaughter from Bountiful across the US border to marry FLDS leader and prophet Warren Jeffs at a ceremony in Colorado Cityin Arizona.

Wilson noted that there is no case law to reference, given that this is the first time the child removal charge has beenprosecuted. However, in making his sentencing submissions, he argued that Brandon Blackmore is more culpable thanEmily Blackmore, given his role as the ‘priesthood-head’ — the religious leader of the family.

According to church documents entered as evidence into the trial, Brandon Blackmore was contacted by Jeffs on February26, 2004, where Jeffs told him that “the Lord had revealed that his 13-year-old daughter belonged to me and we woulddiscuss that when he brought her down south sometime Friday.”

The church records, which were seized by US law enforcement during a raid on the Yearning for Zion FLDS compound inTexas in 2008, included the marriage record for the daughter to Jeffs, which occurred on March 1, 2004.

John Gustafson, the defence lawyer for Brandon Blackmore, argued a conditional sentence should be appropriate.

“The pre-sentence report does indicate, if not remorse, then certainly insight by Mr. Blackmore and I think, to some extent,remorse as well,” Gustafson said. “A conditional sentence order is legally available.”

Gustafson also argued that arrangements could be made with Creston law enforcement to allow a conditional sentence toserved within the community.

Joe Doyle, who is serving as amicus — a friend of the court that acts as a counterbalance to the prosecution — madearguments on behalf of Emily Blackmore. However, under his mandate, he cannot provide legal counsel to her.

Doyle argued that when considering a sentence, sufficient deterrence was achieved through the prosecution and convictionof the Blackmores and the resulting media coverage.

“These two…have been very much in the public eye,” Doyle said. “There’s been a tremendous amount of media attention topeople who, for all appearances, live a very quiet and cloistered life in a small community which certainly, at the time periodof this offence and the evidence you heard, had very little contact with the outside world, and were encouraged at that timenot to do so.”

RELATED: Prosecutor appealing Oler acquittal

Doyle suggested a conditional sentence in the 90-day range for Emily Blackmore, as well as probationary or communityservice measures.

A third co-accused, Jim Oler, who was also charged with the same child removal charges for his role in bringing hisdaughter across the border to marry an American man, was acquitted when the verdict was delivered.

Wilson, who was appointed by the provincial government in 2012 to serve as crown counsel, is also prosecuting polygamycharges against Winston Blackmore, who is Brandon’s younger brother, and Oler.

The polygamy trial recently concluded in May, and a verdict is expected in July.

Just Posted

Local Hero Awards coming to the North Island

“These people are making a difference in our communities and deserve to get recognized.”

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Grant funding denied for Fort Rupert Curling Club’s new roof, District on the hook for full costs

“I think we did our job in helping the curling club have a facility that is no longer leaking.”

Port Hardy Fire Rescue puts out structure fire

Approximately 20 firefighters responded to the incident.

Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw warns dealers and bootleggers they are not welcome

“My hope is that our community works together on this problem as one.”

B.C. boy denied $19,000-per-month drug to ease ‘crippling pain’ for 3rd time

Sooke mom Jillian Lanthier says son Landen Alexa has been forgotten about by Premier John Horgan

Did you get Hitched in Courtenay on Sunday?

The first annual wedding show saw big crowds and included two fashion shows

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

UPDATE: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Most Read