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BC to Bust FLDS
June 3, 2008 permalink
Following the raid on the FLDS in Eldorado Texas, British Columbia's Attorney General Wally Oppal is examining the possibility of action against the same sect in Bountiful BC. If successful, the children will be rescued from a world of whole foods, homemade clothes and homeschooling and immersed in a culture including single parents, drug addiction and prostitution. Instead of evil polygamous marriages, they will be introduced to the wholesome same-sex marriage.
Oppal orders special prosecutor to pursue charges in Bountiful
Jonathan Fowlie, Vancouver Sun, Tuesday, June 03, 2008
VICTORIA -- Attorney-General Wally Oppal has asked a special prosecutor to proceed with any charges he feels are appropriate against members of a polygamous community in Bountiful.
The move goes against previous opinions in the case, which have found it would be difficult to pursue charges, either because of the constitutionality of Canada's laws as they pertain to polygamy or because prosecutors have gone so many years without taking action.
Oppal's move also comes amid significant public pressure, with U.S. officials taking an aggressive approach against a polygamous community in Texas, and with a recent Angus Reid poll showing nearly three-quarters of British Columbians support prosecution here at home.
"This has been the bane of every attorney-general for the past 20 years," said Oppal, a former B.C. Supreme Court justice who has still not said whether he is going to seek a second term during the May 2009 provincial election.
"It's been a difficult challenge for all my predecessors and I just want to put the thing to rest -- one way or another," he added.
In a letter to the criminal justice branch released Monday, Oppal said he disagreed with the previous opinions on the case, and that he wants Vancouver lawyer Terrence Robertson, as a special prosecutor, to begin conducting a so-called charge assessment.
In April, Vancouver lawyer Leonard Doust issued a report for the criminal justice branch saying there is no point charging alleged abusers in Bountiful until the courts rule on the constitutionality of polygamy itself.
Doust recommended the province initiate a reference case with the B.C. Court of Appeal, which would decide the constitutionality of Canada's laws on polygamy. If heard, that case would likely find its way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
"At least if the Supreme Court of Canada decides that Section 293 is constitutionally valid, then its decision will serve as a very clear notice to all with respect to future conduct, leaving any violations of Section 293 to be fully and properly prosecuted," Doust wrote at the time.
Doust also pointed out that prosecution would be difficult because prosecutors have gone so long without pressing charges.
"Mr. Doust's view is that in light of that, that may have given comfort to the people up there and in view of that it may be unfair to prosecute," Oppal explained.
Doust's report followed one by special prosecutor Richard Peck, who came to a similar conclusion the year before.
Doust could not be reached for comment on Monday, and Peck's assistant said he would not be commenting.
In his letter, Oppal was clear to say he thinks there is no constitutional question about the law. He went on to direct Robertson to determine the likelihood of conviction in the case, as well as to measure the public interest served by laying any charges.
"If he concludes that charges should be approved," Oppal wrote, "he is to conduct the prosecution and any appeals which may arise from those proceedings."
Speaking to the media Monday, Oppal said he has great respect for the earlier opinions, but that he feels they are not correct.
"I think the proper route to go is a prosecution of the offence," he said, adding Robertson has been given carte blanche to look at all aspects of the case to see what charges would be appropriate.
Robertson, who could not be reached for comment Monday, has acted as a special prosecutor before, most recently in reviewing the RCMP's report on the lobbying activities of Ken Dobell, a former top aide to Premier Gordon Campbell.
In that case, Robertson found there was enough evidence to convict Dobell on a criminal charge of influence peddling, but decided it was not in the public interest to lay charges.
Dobell eventually pleaded guilty to failing to register as a lobbyist, but was given an absolute discharge.
Source: Vancouver Sun 2008