From Terry Davidson, in the Toronto Sun:
Dairy farmer Michael Schmidt has been convicted by an appeal court of selling unpasteurized milk to the general public after being exonerated last year. (Toronto Sun files)
“A controversial and defiant dairy farmer north of Toronto has been convicted on multiple counts of selling raw milk to his customers.
Michael Schmidt, who has been fighting a battle to deal in unpasteurized milk at his Grey County farm ever since it was raided by government officials in 2006, was convicted on 15 of 19 charges after the Ontario Court of Justice reversed a lower court decision to acquit him last year.
Shortly after Schmidt’s acquittal, the province and the Grey Bruce health unit appealed the decision.
Justice Peter Tetley on Wednesday rejected Schmidt’s argument that selling raw milk to customers who are aware of any health risks was his legal right. Continue reading
From Jessica Leeder, in the Globe and Mail:
“The future of Canada’s most prominent raw milk advocate has turned sour.
Dairyman Michael Schmidt was found guilty of 15 out of 19 charges related to distributing unpasteurized milk from his farm in Durham, Ont. The verdict, written by Mr. Justice Peter Tetley of the Ontario Court of Justice, reverses a decision made last year by a justice of the peace, who acquitted Mr. Schmidt of the same charges.
It is unclear what the decision means for the future of Mr. Schmidt’s farm, a cow-share operation in which raw milk and related products are provided to about 150 shareholders. Raw milk from the farm is not sold commercially. Continue reading
From legal affairs reporter Tracey Tyler, in The Toronto Star:
The Ontario Court of Justice has ruled against raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt, seen here holding up a glass of his milk prior to Wednesday's ruling. TRACEY TYLER/TORONTO STAR
“DURHAM, ONT.—Lola and the girls ambled close to the barn Wednesday, a bit prematurely.
Their keeper, Michael Schmidt, has always vowed to fight until the cows come home for the right to get raw milk into his customers’ hands.
But it looks like his battle will take longer than he expected.
At his farm in Grey County, a few kilometres outside town, Schmidt got a call late Wednesday afternoon from his lawyer, informing him he’d been convicted of 15 provincial offences relating to the sale of unpasteurized milk and could potentially face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Continue reading
From the Canadian Press story, appearing in the Winnipeg Free Press:
Farmer Michael Schmidt at Tuesday's news conference
“NEWMARKET, Ont. – A southern Ontario dairy farmer said Wednesday he’ll appeal a decision finding him guilty on 15 of 19 charges related to the sale and distribution of raw milk.
Michael Schmidt had been acquitted of all charges by Justice of the Peace Paul Kowarsky in January 2010, but the Ontario government and the Grey Bruce Health Unit appealed that decision.
Lawyers for the provincial government had argued that Kowarsky made critical legal errors when he threw out 19 charges against Durham-based farmer.
Justice Peter Tetley agreed and overturned 15 of the acquittals in a 77-page ruling released Wednesday afternoon in Newmarket. Continue reading
After yesterday's news conference: Talk with your friends. Tell your neighbours. Spread the word.
Voting day in Ontario is October 6. If you are a supporter of raw milk, please make sure your local candidates know your views. Here’s how:
• When the candidates come knocking at your door, tell them what you think
• During Q&A period at the candidates’ debates in your riding, ask a question about their position on raw milk
• Send a letter to the candidates at their riding headquarters
Some points you might want to raise: Continue reading
The following news release is from the Canadian Constitution Foundation. Karen Selick, litigation director of the Foundation, defended Michael Schmidt in court during the appeal hearing.
Raw Milk Farmer Suffers Setback, Vows to Continue Fighting
Raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt.
Newmarket, ON: Dairy farmer Michael Schmidt suffered a setback in his campaign to legalize raw milk today when the decision of Justice Peter Tetley of the Ontario Court of Justice reversed a lower court decision and found Schmidt guilty on 15 of the 19 charges. Schmidt had been acquitted of all charges by Justice of the Peace Paul Kowarsky in January, 2010. The Ontario government and the Grey Bruce Health Unit appealed that decision. Justice Tetley allowed their appeal on some, but not all charges.
All claims that the legislation violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were dismissed. Continue reading