Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mormon Polygamy on Trial: Day 5 Summary and media coverage

Day 5 was scheduled to hear testimony from Amicus Expert witness, Professor Angela Campbell. However, Dr. Campbell did not formally testify. Instead, the entire day was spent with the lawyers from STOP Polygamy in Canada, The Attorney General of BC and AG Canada trying to prevent her speaking as an expert witness.

Professor Campbell has impressive academic and profession credentials. She has conducted a small study of the situation in Bountiful, which produced two peer reviewed articles. She is also the only expert witness who has actually traveled to the community.

Questions from the lawyers raised some concern about Professor Campbell's small study sample (only 22 women) and whether this sample is representative (which it isn't). They also raised concern about Dr. Campbell's study design, her qualifications as a social scientist (which she is not), and whether she is completely objective (which she probably isn't).

Nevertheless, I am saddened by the proceedings. Professor Campbell was not given the opportunity to report the results of her studies and offer her first-hand perspective on her work - which included an earlier literature study on the world-wide effects of polygamy on women from all cultures. Even if her conclusions are misleading or unjustified, I believe the Chief Justice and the people in the court, together with the able efforts of the competing attorneys, will not leave her testimony unchallenged.

To me, it seemed like censorship - and if all the expert witnesses are held to the same standard, it will be a very short hearing.

Perhaps the Judge had a similar opinion - as he will allow Dr. Campbell to testify today (one day to report findings which had been scheduled for 2).

Crown wants to keep polygamy testimony off the web - CTV News

Opinion: Expert undergoes grilling over qualifications in B.C. polygamy case

Expert to testify at B.C. polygamy case after intense scrutiny over qualifications

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