First off, here’s a bit from a Canadian Press story dated Feb 12, from the CTV.ca website:
“TORONTO— The Ontario government is wasting its time by appealing a court ruling that found raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt was not guilty of violating the Health Protection and Promotion Act, the Durham-based farmer and activist said Friday.
The Ministry of the Attorney General confirmed it is appealing last month’s decision by a justice of the peace to dismiss 19 charges against Schmidt to the Ontario Court of Justice, but did not elaborate on the reasons.
“They’re clutching at straws,” Schmidt said in a release.
A yearlong trial that ended Jan. 20 found Schmidt’s innovative “cow-share” program for raw milk consumers — which elicited a raid by the Ministry of Health in 2006 — did not violate provincial laws.
Justice of the peace Paul Kowarsky ruled that Schmidt’s program, in which consumers become “part-owners” of his dairy cows, complied with the Health Protection and Promotion Act and Milk Act, despite the prohibitions on selling unpasteurized milk.
While raw milk is legal to drink, it’s illegal to sell in Canada because it’s considered a health hazard.
During Schmidt’s trial, food scientists and health experts testified that mandatory pasteurization laws are needed to protect public health.
Schmidt argued that government officials and food scientists could not guarantee the safety of any food, and suggested informed consumers should be able to buy raw milk if they want.
Kowarsky also acknowledged the growing trend towards the local food movement, and said he found many cow-share programs existed around the world.
The Liberal government is underestimating the food freedom movement, Schmidt said Friday after learning of the province’s decision to appeal.
“This is not about milk, this is about the respect for the individual’s right to make choices without government interference,” he said….”
“Dairy farmer Michael Schmidt will be heading back to court for the next round in his ongoing fight to keep milk flowing from his raw milk operation.
The Ontario government is appealing the Jan. 21 ruling that found Schmidt’s cow-share program does not break any laws against selling unpasteurized milk.
The 55-year-old farmer from Durham said the government’s appeal to the Ontario Court of Justice signals “the next stage in a serious battle” for food freedom.
“This is not about milk, this is about the respect for the individual’s right to make choices without government interference,” Schmidt said in a statement. The farmer was handed the notice of appeal on Thursday.
On Jan. 21, Justice of the Peace Paul Kowarsky ruled Schmidt’s cow-share program is exempt from legislation set out in Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act. He found Schmidt, who defended himself at trial, not guilty on 19 charges under the two acts. In his 40-page ruling, Kowarsky said the farmer does not advertise his product to the public and cited the lack of evidence that people got sick from consuming Schmidt’s dairy products….”
And this is what we learn from “Better Farming”:
“A justice of the peace “erred in law” when he acquitted Michael Schmidt on charges of selling raw milk, says a notice of appeal filed by the Crown in the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket Thursday.
The Crown wants the Ontario Court of Justice to overturn the Jan. 21 acquittal of Michael Schmidt by justice of the peace Paul Kowarsky and convict the Grey County farmer of violating sections the Milk Act and The Health Protection and Promotion Act between Aug. 17 and Nov 22, 2006. The Crown is also seeking an unspecified penalty against Schmidt. As an alternative, the Crown wants an order for a new trial.
Kowarsky ruled that Schmidt didn’t sell raw milk or distribute it to the public. He decided Schmidt actually provided milk to members of a co-op that bought shares in cows that Schmidt managed on his farm near the town of Durham.
Brent Ross, spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, confirmed that an appeal had been filed on Feb. 11. “Given that it is before the courts, I can’t comment further at this time,” he says.
The Crown’s five page notice of appeal says the justice of the peace:
“misapprehended and misapplied evidence;” “erred in law with respect to legal burdens,” and “committed errors of statutory interpretation.”
The notice of appeal says Kowarsky “erred in law in his interpretation and application of the definition of marketing.”
Schmidt hired a public relations firm and acted as his own lawyer, but got advice from Karen Selick, litigation director with the Canadian Constitution Foundation. Selick, based in Belleville, said she and Schmidt would not comment on the province’s appeal today….”
Here’s an excerpt from York Region.com:
“Province Appeals Raw Milk Decision
BY JOE FANTAUZZI
The not-guilty verdict delivered last month in the case of raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt, who made his product available in Thornhill, has been appealed by the province.
Friday afternoon, Brent Ross, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed the province launched the appeal.
In January, Mr. Schmidt was found not guilty of 19 provincial health charges by a Newmarket Justice of the Peace.
According to a copy of the notice of appeal, the province seeks the overturning of Mr. Schmidt’s acquittal, a conviction being registered against Mr. Schmidt and a penalty imposed against him or, failing that, a new trial.
Due to the case being before the courts, Mr. Ross said the province could not offer any other comment.
In a news release Friday, the Canadian Constitution Foundation said Mr. Schmidt was served with the notice of appeal and plans to argue constitutional issues not dealt with in a decision to acquit Mr. Schmidt.
“Now that the province is taking another stab at convicting Mr. Schmidt, it’s all the more important that the validity of the law itself be challenged again, to ensure that Canadians’ Charter rights to life, liberty and security of the person are safeguarded,” Karen Selick, litigation director of the constitution foundation, said in a statement….”