B.C. judge rejects challenge in polygamy case

A judge has rejected a challenge of Canada's polygamy laws that was launched after two men were found guilty of the offence in British Columbia.

Winston Blackmore and James Oler were found guilty in B.C. Supreme Court last July of having multiple wives, but a lawyer for Blackmore argued the law infringes on the charter right to freedom of religion and expression.

Justice Sheri Ann Donegan dismissed all arguments today that the charges should be stayed, including a claim that the prosecution was an abuse of process.

Both men have been leaders in the small community of Bountiful in southeastern B.C., where court heard residents are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which condones plural marriage.

Blackmore was found guilty of marrying two dozen women, while Oler was found to have five wives.

Donegan did not set a date for sentencing in the case, but registered the convictions against the two men, which had been delayed while the constitutional arguments were made.