Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday 30th November - the first witness

There was no court yesterday, so today's session began with the first witness in the case. Dr. Angela Campbell, an assistant professor of law at McGill University was introduced by the Amicus Curiae as an expert witness on the women of Bountiful. Counsel Macintosh elicited many of her accomplishments and noted several papers that she had published on the subject of polygamy. She had clerked for Supreme Court Justice Frank Iaccobucci, and specialized in Family law and Criminal law.

However, her credentials came under severe criticism from the Attorney General of B.C., the Attorney General of Canada, and the counsel for Stop Polygamy Now. It was pointed out that her two visits to Bountiful in 2008 and 2009 had resulted in her being able to talk with only 22 women. She had no training as a social scientist and relied on the help of a graduate student in that field. One of her reasons for engaging in this research was that she believed “Before you decide what the law should be, go find out how the people concerned will be affected.” Her research did not include interviews with Bountiful leaders of either gender – she dealt only with the 22 women (and “Lying for the Lord” is apparently both taught and practised in that community.)

The Attorney General of B.C. suggested that the witness had asked far too many leading questions during her visits to the polygamous community. The Attorney General of Canada asked how any of her research subjects could be trusted to give true answers to her questions, and he pointed out the heavy responsibility that lay with the Court to make a decision on Dr. Campbell's admissibility as an expert witness. If she does indeed testify, you can read about the content of her remarks at

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