06/01/2016 11:50 EDT | Updated 06/02/2017 01:12 EDT

B.C. Appeal Court upholds attempt to charge accused polygamist

VANCOUVER — The leader of a fundamentalist religious community has lost his attempt to have a polygamy charge filed against him derailed at the B.C. Court of Appeal.

Winston Blackmore's lawyers wanted the appointment of a third special prosecutor in the case quashed, arguing that the first special prosecutor's decision against laying charges should stand.

But lawyers for the government argued reopening the case was justified, saying police collected new evidence and the B.C. Supreme Court confirmed in a constitutional case that polygamy is against the law.

Blackmore, one of the leaders of the fundamentalist religious sect in Bountiful, is accused of one count of polygamy for allegedly having two dozen wives.

In a unanimous decision released today by the appeal court panel, Justice David Frankel wrote there was a change in circumstances, leaving the assistant deputy attorney general to decide that it is in the public interest to appoint another prosecutor.