Constitutional arguments in polygamy case delayed in British Columbia court

CRANBROOK, B.C. — A court case that challenges Canada’s ban on polygamy on constitutional grounds has been pushed back a month because of delays in filing legal documents.

Dan McLaughlin, a spokesman for the B.C. Prosecution Service, says the Crown asked for an adjournment after receiving new material from the defence Monday evening, the day before the hearing was set to start.

Winston Blackmore’s lawyer, Blair Suffredine, says he added 10 paragraphs to the end of an affidavit.

Blackmore is the leader of a small community in southeastern British Columbia that follows the teachings of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which endorses plural marriage. The mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has renounced any connection to the polygamist group.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge found Blackmore and fellow church leader James Oler each guilty of one count of polygamy earlier this year, but the convictions will not be entered pending the outcome of the constitutional arguments.

The hearing has been rescheduled to begin Dec. 12 and last three days.