DURHAM – Local raw milk advocate Michael Schmidt’s appeal of a British Columbia judge’s contempt of court finding against him is based what he views as the lack of proof anyone drank his milk and lack of clarity of the court order he was found to have breached, he said Tuesday in an interview.
Schmidt said he restructured a Chilliwack, B.C. dairy farm to produce cosmetics to comply with an injunction which ordered him and others not to package and distribute unpasteurized milk for human consumption.
But Superior Court Justice Randall Wong called the cosmetics claim a “ruse” and found Schmidt and farm owner Gordon Watson in contempt of the court by violating the injunction.
Schmidt said in an interview it’s not his business what people do with the milk once he produces it. He said there’s no prohibition on drinking raw milk but “they’re (authorities are) trying to get around that by issuing these orders.”
“We tried to find a way how we can comply with the court order.”
Schmidt confirmed he has appealed Wong’s written decision was released June 5. The Aug. 26 2011 breach of the March 18, 2010 court order became the subject of a contempt hearing after the Fraser Health Authority filed a petition with the court calling for a finding of contempt and special costs.
The Public Health Act, under its regulations in B.C., deems milk that has not been pasteurized at a licensed dairy plant as a health hazard. The Public Health Act stipulates a person must not willingly cause a health hazard or act in a manner that the person knows or ought to know will cause a health hazard.
The judge handed each man a three-month suspended sentence, followed by one year of probation and granted costs to the health authority.
Schmidt said the court needed to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt before making a finding of contempt. Yet there was no evidence, Schmidt said, that anyone had drunk the unpasteurized milk in the “cosmetics,” in which raw milk was the only ingredient, the court decision said….”