In a historic, precedent setting decision, that can be quoted in future as “case law”, Justice of the Peace Kowarsky acquitted defendant Michael Schmidt of all charges related to the 2006 raid on Glencolton Farms.
More than 20 media outlets sent reporters and camera crews to cover the event. Supporters at the court house and the rally that followed numbered more than 200. America’s foremost raw milk journalist David E. Gumpert was on hand to hear the historic verdict and record it for his “The Complete Patient” blog.
Here’s an excerpt from that post, titled “Huge Victory for Michael Schmidt As Canadian Judge Rules Cow Shares Outside Regulators’ Jurisdiction:
“….At first, the judge sounded as if he was going to rule against Schmidt,when he said several times he had “no authority” to pronounce on legislation. His role, he said, was to determine “whether offenses occurred.” He then went through each of the 19 counts against Michael Schmidt, which stem from offenses that first occurred in 1994, when his Glencolton Farm was first raided by authorities.
He then went through the account of how two undercover agents from the Ontario Ministry of Health in 2006 acquired milk products from Michael Schmidt. The circumstances around that operation wound up influencing the judge’s ruling when he decided he had “reasonable doubt” about whether the acquisition of $6 worth of raw milk cheese from Michael Schmidt constituted a sale. That decision was essential to allowing the judge to then rule on whether cow shares are subject to Ontario milk laws.
In the end, the judge determined that cow shares are outside regulatory oversight based on the following:
That legislation is subject to a “dynamic” based on cultural, social, and historical factors. In other words, raw milk doesn’t pose the same dangers it might have been seen to pose in the 1930s, when much of Ontario’s dairy legislation was passed.
That Michael Schmidt wasn’t “marketing” the cow shares. “There was no advertising and sale (of raw milk) to the general public…Cow shares are a legitimate private enterprise that does not constitute marketing in Ontario.”
Perhaps most intriguing, that “the people who are permitted to buy the milk are fully informed” via a special booklet, identification cards, regular newsletters, and other steps Michael Schmidt took on behalf of his members. “There is no evidence of any illness” in all the years Michael Schmidt has been distributing raw milk, he observed, and tests by the regulatory authorities never found any evidence of pathogens….”