Fundamentalist Mormon mom appeals conviction for taking 13-year-old daughter to U.S. for coerced marriage
Emily Ruth Gail Blackmore is appealing her conviction on a charge of removing a child from Canada for a sexual purpose.
Blackmore, 60, was convicted of having taken her 13-year-old daughter from Bountiful, B.C. to the United States in 2004 to marry Warren Jeffs, the polygamous prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Several months after the wedding, Jeffs raped the girl only a few weeks after her 14th birthday. An audio recording of the rape was part of the evidence in the trial.
In August, Blackmore was sentenced to seven months in jail plus probation. She was also ordered to provide a DNA sample and to be registered as a sex offender for a decade.
Brandon Blackmore, the girl's father, was also convicted. The 71-year-old was sentenced to a year in jail plus probation with the same provision of having to provide DNA for the registry.
Both parents were led away from the Cranbrook courtroom in handcuffs. It is not known whether Gail Blackmore will be released pending the B.C. Court of Appeal deciding on her application.
Blackmore refused legal counsel during her trial, made no attempt to defend herself, and spent most of her days in court reading from what appeared to be religious texts.
However, there was a court-appointed amicus whose role was to provide a balance to the positions taken by special prosecutor Peter Wilson.
The grounds for the appeal were set out in the application.
Her lawyer Greg DelBigio will argue that the judge erred in his finding that the circumstantial evidence was sufficient to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The conviction, he says, is “unreasonable and cannot be supported by the evidence.”
The application goes on to suggest that the sentence is “unduly harsh and excessive in length” and that the judge “erred in law in finding that a conditional sentence order could not effectively address the applicable principles of sentencing.”
The relief being sought is either acquittal or that the sentence be reduced with a conditional sentence be substituted for jail time.
The prosecution has not yet filed its rebuttal. No date has been set for the appeal.