2017 BCSC 192

In 2017 BCSC 192, the parents, Mr. B, Ms. B, and Mr. O, of two female minors, Ms. M and Ms. C, were charged with removal of a child from Canada under s. 273.3(1)(b) of the Criminal Code where, if they had been in Canada, the act would have constituted sexual exploitation. Mr. and Ms. B transported their 13-year-old daughter, Ms. M, from British Columbia to Arizona, USA, where she was placed in a plural marriage to Warren Jeffs, then the Prophet and leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (“FLDS”). Mr. O transported his 15-year-old daughter, Ms. C, from British Columbia to Nevada, USA, to facilitate her marriage to another member of the FLDS Church. This was done under the explicit request of Warren Jeffs, who communicated his religious instruction by phone call. The trial judge found that being placed in a plural marriage with an older man in a foreign country, especially in the context of the FLDS doctrine, constituted a position of dependency or being in a relationship with a person who was in a position of authority within the meaning of s. 153.

The trial judge found Mr. B guilty on one count of Removal of Child from Canada, Ms. B guilty on one count of Removal of Child from Canada, and Mr. O not guilty on any count, due to the Crown’s inability to provide evidence for one of the elements of Removal of Child from Canada.

Mr. B was sentenced to 13 months incarceration and Ms. B to 7 months incarceration. Ms. B’s appeal of the conviction was dismissed. The Crown appealed the acquittal of Mr. O and a new trial was directed.

See also: 2018 BCCA 323 (Appeal – Mr. O); 2018 BCCA 324 (Appeal – Ms. B).


Criminal Offence(s): Sexual Exploitation