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Winston Blackmore sentenced to 6 months house arrest for polygamy

Winston Blackmore and James Oler arrive to court for polygamy sentencing
WATCH: Winston Blackmore and James Oler, along with their supporters, arrive to court in Cranbrook.

Sentencing has been handed down in a decades-long polygamy case in B.C.

Winston Blackmore has been given a conditional sentence for six months to be served in the community and 12 months probation for a polygamy conviction.

WATCH: High-profile polygamists sentenced

High-profile polygamists sentenced
High-profile polygamists sentenced

Blackmore has married 24 women since 1975 after marrying Jane Blackmore.

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Blackmore was a bishop in the isolated community of Bountiful, and was accused of having multiple wives.

Ten of Blackmore’s wives were 17 years old when he married them, three were 16 and one was 15 years old. Together, they had 145 children.

READ MORE: Evidence unreliable in polygamy case: defence

There have been several failed attempts at charging Blackmore in the past due to vague laws surrounding polygamy.

Fellow bishop James Oler has also been sentenced to house arrest. He has been given a three month conditional sentence with 12 months probation. He married five women in so-called “celestial” marriages.

Blackmore must complete 150 hours of community service, to Oler’s 75 hours.

Justice Sheri Ann Donegan says it was a “delicate balance” to find sentences for Blackmore and Oler that recognize their hard-working, otherwise law abiding natures, while also acknowledging that neither man is remorseful for his multiple marriages.

Police started investigating Bountiful in the ’90s.

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that laws banning the practice were legal.

Dozens of Blackmore and Oler’s supporters were in the Cranbrook courtroom for the ruling, with some of them weeping as the sentences were read.

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Coverage of Bountiful B.C. on Globalnews.ca

-With files from The Canadian Press