The BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) announced Monday that Special Prosecutor Peter Wilson QC has declined to approve any further charges arising from investigations into the conduct of individuals associated with the community of Bountiful, a community near Creston, B.C.
This decision brings the matter to a close and concludes the involvement of the Special Prosecutor.
Peter. Wilson was appointed Special Prosecutor by then-Assistant Deputy Attorney General Robert Gillen QC on Jan. 17, 2012, with a mandate to provide legal assistance to the police during their investigation and to conduct an independent charge assessment of any Report to Crown Counsel (RCC) that was submitted.
His mandate included considering possible prosecution of sexual exploitation and other alleged offences against minors. His mandate was expanded by Gillen on Jan. 31, 2012 to include consideration of polygamy related offences. On Aug, 13, 2014, the BCPS announced that Wilson had approved criminal charges against several individuals.
The charges alleged offences contrary to the polygamy provisions of the Criminal Code and the unlawful removal of children under the age of 16 years from Canada for a sexual purpose.
At that time, Wilson also announced that he had declined to approve charges of sexual exploitation contrary to section 153 of the Criminal Code. He did so after determining that the standard for approving charges, set out in BCPS policy, was not met in relation to these offences.
As all matters are now concluded, Wilson has issued a Clear Statement explaining his reasons for not approving charges pertaining to sexual exploitation or to charges based on the recent investigation. Mr. Wilson’s Clear Statement can be found here: http:// https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/law-crime-and-justice/criminal-justice/prosecution-service/media-statements/2020/20-14-sp-concludes-involvement-bountiful-prosecution.pdf
James Oler and Winston Blackmore, two rival leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, were convicted in a B.C. court of practising polygamy in 2018 and sentenced to house arrest and probation.