09/02/2015 19:43 EDT | Updated 09/02/2016 01:12 EDT

No preliminary hearing for accused B.C. polygamist, case heads straight to trial

VANCOUVER — A lawyer prosecuting the accused polygamist leader of a fundamentalist Mormon commune has opted to forego a preliminary inquiry and head straight to trial.

The Ministry of the Attorney General has signed off on special prosecutor Peter Wilson's request to proceed with a direct indictment against Winston Blackmore, who allegedly has more than two dozen wives.

A preliminary hearing is intended to determine whether there is enough evidence to take a case to trial.

But the prosecution can avoid that route if the attorney general agrees doing so would be in the public interest —to protect a witness, for example.

Blackmore has chosen to be tried by judge and jury.

No date has been set for the trial of the Bountiful, B.C., resident but proceedings are expected to take place in Cranbrook.

The Canadian Press