“Raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt plans to appeal both his Sept. 28 conviction and subsequent sentence for producing and distributing unpasteurized milk.
Karen Selick, the Durham-area farmer’s lawyer, said the law has “inflicted an injustice” in the Schmidt case.
“It is my belief that the law should not punish people who have never harmed anyone else,” said the litigation director for the Canadian Constitution Foundation.
“This was a victimless offence.”
Schmidt was found guilty of 15 charges in a Newmarket courtroom on Sept. 28 for violating the province’s Health Protection and Promotion Act.
He was ordered to pay a $9,150 fine and slapped with a year’s probation at a sentencing hearing Friday.
Selick said she and Schmidt are “definitely” planning to appeal the convictions. Schmidt said Monday the sentence will also be appealed.
The charges against Schmidt stemmed from a raid on his farm in 2006 by Ministry of Natural Resources and public health inspectors.
After his sentencing hearing, Schmidt said the province “went after the wrong target” since he has not owned the cow-share program for “many, many years.”
Selick said that is one basis for an appeal.
“It appeared that the judge misapprehended Michael’s evidence,” she wrote in an e-mail to The Sun Times.
“Michael stated that he had divested himself of all his assets in about 1995 in order to follow the Gandhian model of effecting change. Mahatma Gandhi had pointed out that once the state has lost its power over someone by not being able to deprive him of material assets, then it would be forced to deal with the real issues he raises. However, Michael also testified that he had ceased to dwell on the farm in March, 2011. The judge seemed to confuse the two dates and seemed to believe that ‘for most of the past decade’ the farm was an ‘available resource’ owned by Michael.”
Selick said the judge also “seemed to assume” that other people would pay for Schmidt’s fine, another reason for an appeal.
“I have never seen a sentence that assumes other people will pay an accused person’s fine. This puts the accused in an impossible position if those other people don’t step up to the plate,” she said….”
Photo below from Karen Selick’s Facebook album: