Dec 4, 2018

Polygamist's retrial date set for trafficking his 15-year-old daughter

James Oler, who is accused of practising polygamy in a fundamentalist religious community. Jeff McIntosh / THE CANADIAN PRESS
December 3, 2018

James Oler's new trial begins in April with an amicus or friend of the court appointed once again to assist since the former FLDS bishop refuses legal counsel.

Convicted polygamist James Oler will be back in B.C. Supreme Court in Cranbrook on April 1, 2019 for the start of his retrial on the charge of taking his under-aged daughter to the United States for sexual purposes.

Justice Martha Devlin will hear the case. On Friday, she appointed Joseph Doyle as amicus (or friend of the court) to assist her.

Oler, a former bishop of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, had no legal counsel in his two previous trials in B.C. Supreme Court and none for an appeal.

In August, the appellate court overturned Oler’s February acquittal. It determined that the trial judge erred in two ways in his decision on a law that had not been used before. The unlawful removal of a child for illegal purposes section in the Criminal Code was a precursor to the child trafficking law that was passed after Oler’s offence is alleged to have occurred.

The three justices said the law doesn’t require proof of where Oler formed the intent to take his 15-year-old daughter from Bountiful, B.C. in 2004 to be forced into a religious marriage to a much older man in the United States.

The appeal court justices also said that the judge failed to reach a conclusion on “the essential question of the location of the child at the time of the offence.”

Oler, 54, is currently serving a sentence after his conviction of one count of polygamy. Having been found guilty of having five wives, including two under the age of 18, Oler was sentenced in July to three months of house arrest, a year’s probation, and 75 hours of community service.

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