“TORONTO — A former Ontario raw-milk farmer convicted last month for operating an illegal cow-share program has not given up his nearly 20-year long legal battle with the government.
A lawyer for Michael Schmidt filed court documents Monday with the Ontario Court of Appeal, arguing that a judge erred when he overturned a previous acquittal and convicted Schmidt of 13 charges related to the sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk and cheese and operating a plant without a licence.
He was also fined $9,150 and placed on one year’s probation.
Schmidt is appealing his Nov. 25 convictions on a number of grounds including that Ontario Justice Peter Tetley wrongly interpreted the law and did not consider the constitutional basis of the case, according to court documents.
“(The) judge erred in failing to find that the impugned legislation, which infringes the Section 7 rights of both Mr. Schmidt and consumers, does so in a manner that is not consistent with the principles of fundamental justice, since it is both arbitrary and overbroad,” wrote Schmidt’s lawyer, Karen Selick.
In Canada, it is illegal for farmers to market, sell, distribute or deliver unpasteurized milk, cream or cheese to non-family members….”
Schmidt was charged in 2006 following an undercover police operation and armed raid at Glencolton farms, located about 2 1/2 hours northwest of Toronto. He has admitted to supplying the illicit liquid to 150 families who paid $300 memberships for partial shares in 26 cows.
Following his conviction, he cheekily held a toast with a wine glass of unpasteurized milk outside the Newmarket, Ont., courthouse with nearly 60 supporters and two dairy cows. He vows to ignore the fine.
In 1994, he was also fined $3,500 on similar charges and placed on two years probation.
Schmidt is also facing legal woes in B.C.
The Fraser Health Authority recently filed an application to charge the raw-milk advocate with contempt of civil court for allegedly ignoring an order to discontinue operations at a Chilliwack, B.C., dairy….”
Toronto Life, on the other hand, is notably underwhelmed by the lack of drama in this latest turn of the raw milk screw:
“After that whole hunger strike/willing to die/ready for jail drama, we have to admit we were a little underwhelmed when we heard that Michael Schmidt merely filed for an appeal through proper channels on Monday. The ex–dairy farmer was initially found not guilty of 13 charges relating to the sale of unpasteurized milk products and operating a plant without a licence, but that acquittal was overturned earlier this year when the Crown won an appeal. He was fined $9,150 and given a year’s probation, though Schmidthas refused to pay. His lawyer is arguing that Justice Peter Tetley misinterpreted the law and ignored several Charter violations.”