Michael Schmidt trial preview 5: Notes and Will Say from Ministry of Natural Resources Investigator Brett Campbell

MNR Investigators

MNR Investigators at Glencolton Farms, Nov. 21, 2006

This is what Brett Campbell is expected to say at the trial, disclosed in advance to defendant Michael Schmidt and passed on by Mr. Schmidt to The Bovine:

I am an investigator with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and I am presently assigned to investigate matters on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs.

On August 11, 2006 I was assigned to assist with investigation that was ongoing involving the defendant Mr. Michael Schmidt, his farm operation known as Glencolton Farms and the suspicion of whether or not Mr. Schmidt was responsible for producing, packaging and distributing unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized milk products. The initial investigation was handled by my partner Susan Atherton, but she became ill and I was requested to assist.

Prior to August 11, 2006, I assisted in the investigation in a minor role on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, July 25, 2006 – I observed the defendant drive the bus to the area of 9100 Bathurst St. I observed numerous people coming and going from the bus including some children. Some licence plates were obtained on that day. I did not observe any products in relation to unpasteurized milk or milk products on this date. We then followed the bus back to the farm where it was parked.
  • Wednesday, July 26, 2006 and Thursday, July 27, 2006- I was part of a group who observed the area of the farm location, there was little activity so we left. The bus was observed parked and did not move.
  • Friday, July 28, 2006- assisted in a backup role while officer Miller attended the farm store in an attempt to obtain products from the store. They were not successful so the attempt was called off.
  • August 11, 2006- Requested by my superior to take the lead in the case as Investigator Atherton’s role was becoming more involved in dealing with Mr. Schmidt.
  • Tuesday August 15, 2006- observed the bus location using surveillance. Observed almost a full day of operation. There were also approximately 92 people observed including 9 children. Over half the people observed, were clearly seen carrying coolers and/or bags. At approx. 1307 hrs officer Nixon and I both observed a male at the rear of the bus loading what appeared to be jars of milk into a cooler. We could see him load several clear glass jars containing what appeared to be jars of milk. This was the first time suspected milk was observed by me actually being taken off the bus.
  • Tuesday August 22, 2006- observed the defendant driving the blue bus and stopping at another location located on Hwy 9. I later Stood by as undercover officer Atherton attended the spot where the bus usually parked, being 9100 Bathurst St. Thornhill in the City of Vaughan. She was able to go on to the bus, obtain some cheese, as well as a guidebook entitled “cow share members handbook”. She showed these items to me, and we agreed that this booklet was important to show that not only was the farm run by the Schmidt’s, but it was a very clear package outlining the cow share system including responsibilities of the farm and specifically the member itself. This booklet contains a wealth of information including how orders are placed and filled.
  • Tuesday October 17, 2006- I had been working on the investigation in Sue’s absence (ill) and was looking at preparing an investigative warrant which was never applied for. On this date I assisted Sue in a back role once again. She and I met after she was able to purchase some more cheese. I was shown the cheese and Sue had it sent to the lab. I was advised by her on the following day in it had been taken to the lab.
  • Friday October 20, 2006- I was part of a back up team for Sue as she was heading to purchase products at the farm. She was able to obtain several items from the store. I observed these items and noted that the jars used were similar to the ones I observed on August 15. This was also the day that Sue advised me that she had been successful in obtaining a cow share membership. She advised me that these products were purchased at the Schmidt, but actually sold by one of his assistants.
  • Tuesday, November 7, 2006- Provided back up to Sue as she was going to make an attempt to buy from the bus. We decided that we would like further concrete evidence that he was in fact distributing raw (unpasteurized) milk from the bus. Up to this point, Michael Schmidt would only allow her to purchase at the farm as the bus customer list was full. Sue attended the bus as was able to purchase one jar of milk from Mr. Schmidt. This was shown to me and she took it to the lab to be analysed.
  • Between the dates of November 8, 2006 and November 16, 2006, I worked on gathering information from several sources and put together a Search Warrant and operations plan, with hopes of conducting the search on the 21st of November, 2006.
  • November 16, 2006- I attended the offices of the Justice of the Peace and met with his worship Oates. He was provided with the required information and issued a warrant to me on that date.
  • November 20, 2006- I attended Newmarket court to make a small amendment to the warrant, again appearing in front of J.P. Oates. This had to do with some minor changes in the officers and civilians that would be attending and assisting with collection of evidence on the following day. The completed warrant was then presented at a briefing hearing with the involved officers attending. I conducted a briefing and explained the officer’s roles for the following day.
  • November 21, 2006- I attended the Schmidt farm located in Durham to execute a search warrant. The warrant team was successful and several important pieces of evidence were gathered. I was responsible for providing direction to the involved officers, and most on scene decisions relateing to what we felt would be useful evidence. I also relied heavily on Mr. Bruce Keown who is a dairy specialist, and members of the Grey Bruce Health Unit for direction and assistance relating to very specific items and their uses in relation to a milk plant operation. Numerous items were seized and transported to various locations for storage, examination and in some cases destruction. There are numerous items, but they include photos of a fully loaded bus, Milk plant operation equipment and a cautioned will say from Mr. Schmidt. At my request Mr. Schmidt was shown all areas that had been searched and I made sure he was satisfied on the condition of his property prior to leaving. I was present when he was given a verbal warning to discontinue by the health Unit, and I issued him with a Summons charging him under Section 15 (1) of the Milk Act. This charge relates to operating a milk plant without a licence. The court date was set for January 16, 2007, in Walkerton Court.
  • November 28, 2006- Return completed and signed order of Detention received. Issued by J.P. Glover.
  • On December 1st and December 6th, 2006- I met with Mr. Schmidt and returned several items to him which were either outside the scope of the warrant, or were considered irrelevant to proving our case. he acknowledged return of these items to me. Documents that were retained were photocopied for him and returned to him as well.
  • January 9, 2006- I met with Ron Zimmerling who is responsible for the computer files. He turned over numerous documents that were obtained from the computers located at the house. Items were read over and items that were considered useful were retained and will be used to show Mr. Schmidt’s involvement with the production, sale, and distribution of milk products.
  • After discussion with the involved officers, civilian dairy authorities, examining the bulk of the exhibits, information relating to lab results, and direction from our legal counsel, I prepared and laid charges stemming from this investigation. These included a new charge under the Milk Act for acting as a distributor without a licence, as well as numerous charges under the Health Promotion and Protection Act relating to Mr. Schmidt’s sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk and milk products.
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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Michael Schmidt trial preview 5: Notes and Will Say from Ministry of Natural Resources Investigator Brett Campbell

  1. Bernie Bailey

    Questions keep coming to mind as I read these articles so I must ask. Did any one from the investigating team, department of health, milk board, or the minister of Agriculture ever talk to Michael about the milk act and how cow sharing fit in . Did anyone ever talk to him about all farmers and his family members that drink raw milk from his farm even when the children moved off the farm and in to the town . Did the chairman of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario who drinks raw milk from his farm say what makes him legal and has any one shown the actual words in the Milk Act that say a farmer can do this or is it one off those taken for granted unwritten laws or is our government employees running around behind Michael’s back looking for evidence that thy can make a PHANTOM POLICY fit .

  2. Michael

    Good point.
    for 14 years I promoted dialogue instead of confrontation.
    Government policy seems to be brutal enforcement rather constructive dialogue.
    Raw milk is a highly charged political subject and many who are depending on the Dairy Farmers of Ontario or the Ministry of Agriculture and Food or the University of Guelph are scared to open their mouth.
    Nothing new, it is standard procedure to be punished when one questions the status quo of the system.
    That itself makes it even more important to focus on the issue itself. Do people have no choice but trust Government and University policy which is heavily influenced by corporate policy, or do people have a choice to make informed decisions based on their own experience, which is also a form of valid science but belittled by those who think they own science.
    All is needed is a joint effort of objective research to establish base data and come up with some kind of guidelines and all the huff and puff wpould be gone. The reality that nobody even wants to look into objective research shows how afraid they are.
    See you at trial
    Michael

  3. in British Columbia, we have the case of Desolation Sound Oyster Farm, where the farmer tried for years to get a straight answer out of the provincial govt. as to what the policy was, so he could expand operations
    they did not respond in any meaningful way
    Eventually, he was charged with offences.
    A Special Prosecutor stayed the charges, on the ground that the Accused had a good defence in “bureacratic indifference” and “officially-induced error”
    these govt.s are – for the most part – run by little mice, who have forgotten whom they serve, and whose modus operandi is “passive aggression”

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