Michael Schmidt continues with his review of the BC raw milk trial. Part 1 is here, if you missed it.
I returned home to Ontario on a West Jet red eye flight. I was relieved that Nobody around me noticed, that I was out on bail for conspiracy to kidnap sheep.
Lawyers worked frantically to make sure that I can continue to play my role in the six act drama of our “little Chilliwack dairy”. No doubt it would be the best scenario in the “Hunt for Michael Schmidt” if I would be punished and locked up for 45 days as Susan Beach demanded before the “Sheep Heist Trial” even starts.
What an honor to travel 13500 km in less than 12 days to be on the BC stage of justice.
[Editor's note: Michael had to return to Ontario after Act 3 of the trial, in order to obtain permission to go again out of the Province, since his original permission had been for only been for the trial's anticipated duration of Feb 13-15th, and now it seemed the proceedings would take a few days longer than planned for.]
This will be the ultimate scene and climax to feature Susan Beach acting for Fraser Health in her role.
I had the best place because I stood at the witness podium and below me Susan Beach ready to jump.
The Curtain rose our wise judge entered, respectfully the entire theater paid respect and then sat down.
Susan Beach started with her cross examination.
A few days prior she told me face to face I can be finished with you in 35 minutes.
Without getting into details, it was remarkable how desperate she was to put the final nail into the coffin.
Splitting hairs, her voice dripping with sarcasm, she despised every answer I gave her.
By now all milk would have curdled on it’s own without any added culture.
Her voice almost hysterical, she made fun of my German accent, sometimes her voice was condescending sometimes like a feisty dog barking up a tree.
She turned the pages so violently on her desk i guess wanting to demonstrate her power and utmost despair.
She was after all the “CHOSEN” one to bring down OUR COWS’ little Chilliwack dairy. She was the one dreaming to end the battle for raw milk in Canada. She was the hope of the entire dairy industry to put an end to an almost 20 year old milk war.
And all she was, was a roaring paper tiger with no desire trying to understand the needs of others. No desire to admit the failings of her clients, no desire to recognize her own misery of having to be miserable.
But at the same time I admired her determination, her smartness and her ability to remember many details.
It was over. She suddenly said that’s all. I was surprised, because I had many more suggestions for her what to ask me to get to the bottom of the milk-can.
Gordon Watson rose to continue my cross examination.
Every time he walked calmly to the lawyers desk Susan Beaches eyes rolled and her body language expressed her distaste for this unlearned lawyer.
Gordon Watson impressed me. Yes he has his moments, but he has wit and a memory of a genius. He asked the questions which in fact mattered in this act 4 of this drama………..
The judge rose, everybody bowed their head and the curtain came down.
My desire to connect with Susan Beach on a more personal level has vanished, at least for today. I hoped that she will have a good sleep.
We are full of anticipation of the grand finale.
Everybody is ready to deliver the final plea for justice. Lots of questions remain……..will the judge rule today?
does the judge like us?
What will the penalty be?
No milk bath tomorrow?
A lot of questions swirling around before the final round, so we thought.
The curtain rose the learned judge gracefully entered the chamber and nodded his head towards Susan to begin her deliberations.
It was stunningly disappointing. It seemed hours and hours of monologue, reciting case law about a barking dog, no passionate appeal to the judge to save the world from raw milk.
Where was her heart?
Did she not believe in the cause of saving us from ourselves?
I was confused. The longer she kept going in her monologue the more people dozed off dreaming of a refreshing milk bath.
Eventually she wrapped up and stepped to the side.
Jason Gratl our low key lawyer laid out the rather un-complicated matter how cows can indeed make milk for drinking, but if the courts orders so, will produce the most wonderful milk bath. Versatile beyond comprehension. Even Health Canada agrees on that.
The last dissertation is from Gordon Watson. Laying the ground work for a broader understanding about the milk politics in BC, about his search for answers, his search for the truth, his search for due process, his search for milk, his search for justice in the face of Government corruption.
The judge awakens to Gordon and with a sense of grace engages in the final review of history. Like old friends they engage in conversations about great legal cases.
The judge seems thoroughly enjoying this trial. He shows no intention to finish this drama in five acts. He wants another act to follow.
The curtain falls we are all stunt. Susan visibly irritated had packed her suitcase already, makes arrangements on her phone for another dark night in New Westminster.
No audience waiting like the other days. This drama is so emotional draining that we begin to see the toll.
Would they have known that the real highlight was yet to come.
The curtain rose. We bowed our head as the judge entered. I was stunned the judge appeared different. His suit was of much lighter colour. His tie was different. There was more light so it seemed.
Gordon rose, Susan rolled her eyes, Jason folded his hands and the judge gave Gordon respectfully his powerful but almost invisible nod.
This was Gordon’s moment.
I was mesmerized , I was elated, I was surprised, I was moved, I was in the middle of the battle of human minds where history came alive with battling soldiers, playing hockey in Korea and Gordons father dropping the puck. Only to be killed shortly after.
The Magna Charta came alive in the courtroom through Gordons ancestors. Yes, Gordon was fighting the evil of communism in the country which battled communism in other parts of the world.
Gordon was finished. The court was silent………………..until Susan jumped up with a last attempt to highlight the reality that a milk bath is more dangerous than our corrupted agencies. Susan did what she had to do.
She could have been my Valentine for a few days, but she threw my rose into a card board box.
The final curtain falls.
The books are closed everybody is hanging on the lips of the judge to catch the final words.
No ruling………… not for a while………. may be after the election.
Our cue….we have a job to do.
Regarding the operetta: Back in 2009 some friends of raw milk and Michael Schmidt re-wrote the libretto of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta “Trial by Jury” to make it a “Milk Trial by Jury”. At the time they wrote it, the January 2010 acquittal had not been handed down yet by Justice Kowarsky and so they wrote two different endings for the piece. The original thought was that it would be performed sometime around when the court’s decision would be handed down in January 2010. However, due to complicating factors, it was not performed until July 2010 as part of the Symphony in the Barn summer season.