Man With 149 Kids And 24 Wives Sentenced To Six Months House Arrest

A man known as 'Canada's best-known polygamist' has been sentenced to six months house arrest and 150 hours of community service after a court in British Colombia found him guilty of polygamy.

Winston Blackmore, who has 24 wives and 149 children, is the first man to be found guilty of polygamy in over a century.

His trial has been ongoing for several years, with Blackmore and another man, James Oler, first arrested and charged almost a decade ago in 2009.

Blackmore is thought to have at least 24 wives, while Oler has five, reports the Mirror.

Their initial trial was thrown out of court, but the pair were brought back to face charges a second time and found guilty, a verdict that was confirmed by the Supreme Court of British Columbia today.

The pair are leaders within a fundamentalist Mormon church in which polygamy is allowed.

The judge in the case, Justice Sherry Anne Donegan, sentenced the pair in Cranbrook, BC, on Tuesday morning, and said that the decision was hard to make because of the unusual circumstances of the case, particularly because the two men are otherwise model citizens, but are unrepentant about their crimes.

"He's made it clear that no sentence will deter him from practising his faith," said the judge. "The concept of remorse is foreign to him in this context."

She eventually decided to impose house arrest conditions on Blackmore, as well as community service, a sentence which is towards the lower end of what he could have been given.

Justice Donegan erred on the side of leniency because Mr Blackmore posed little threat to the community aside from his religiously-motivated polygamy.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Some Mormon churches allow polygamy, though the major branches of the religion have long since disavowed it.

A decision by the central organ of the Mormon faith, the Church of the Latter Day Saints, in 1890, after repeated legal challenges to the doctrine.

This caused a split in the Church that saw many splinter groups from around the idea of having multiple wives, which some choosing to emigrate from the Church's base in the United States to Mexico and Canada in order to pursue a polygamous lifestyle.

Blackmore is the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ (Original Doctrine) Inc., a church based in his hometown of Bountiful, British Columbia, that traces its roots back to the original split from the main Mormon church in the early 20th century.

Both men said they intend to continue their polygamous lifestyles despite today's court ruling.

Featured Image Credit: PA

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