Court hears of high teen pregnancy rate in Bountiful in final testimony

By Keith Fraser, The ProvinceFebruary 9, 2011
 
 
 

Children play in the community of Lister, in Bountiful, where Winston Blackmore’s breakaway Mormon sect is centred.

Photograph by: Nick Procaylo file, The Province

After more than two months of often emotional testimony, the polygamy trial heard from its last witness Wednesday.

The trial heard from more than two dozen witnesses, including experts on various subjects related to polygamy, and former and current polygamists.

The evidence concluded Wednesday with testimony from an official with the B.C. Vital Statistics Agency on the high rate of teen pregnancies in the polygamous community of Bountiful.

B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman, who presided over the proceedings, thanked all of the lawyers present in the Vancouver courtroom.

“We have an incredible record to base final submissions on,” said the judge.

The matter was then adjourned until March 28 for the start of what’s expected to be nearly two weeks of final submissions.

On Monday, following a media application, the judge agreed to allow TV cameras and web cameras in the courtroom during the final arguments.

The judge has been asked to determine whether Canada’s polygamy law is constitutional.

The issue was referred to him by the attorney-general’s ministry of B.C. after polygamy charges against two fundamentalist Mormon leaders in Bountiful had their polygamy charges stayed in 2009.

kfraser@theprovince.com

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