Michael Schmidt and Montana Jones in “Legal Limbo – counting months and money wasted, instead of sheep”

Montana Jones shares her perspective on three days of court hearings last week:

Montana Jones, Lawyer Shawn Buckley, Michael Schmidt, all of whom were in court last week in Cobourg and Lindsay to hear why the CFIA wants Shawn Buckley removed from the case. The CFIA claims it’s because of a potential conflict of interest. Thanks to Montana Jones for the photo.

The government wants Michael Schmidt and I to please pick a different lawyer. I’m not surprised. They say it’s due to a potential conflict of interest in the pending trial. Others wonder if they’re just not so keen at the prospect of going head to head with Shawn Buckley, our British Columbia based constitutional and criminal lawyer specializing in the Food and Drugs Act and Regulations.

It’s almost three years since the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) wolves first descended onto my farm, and this past week of judicial dancing through court hoops suggests we’ll have to endure the shadowy predators lurking for a long while yet.

Tomorrow marks one year since the CFIA killed the last my heritage Shropshire lambs, on suspicion they might develop a disease called Scrapie.

In total the CFIA has killed over seventy of my rare breed sheep, despite live testing that indicated they were negative for a disease that poses no human health risk. All came back negative post-mortem as well.

Prior to one of the “depopulation” dates (the CFIA prefer that term to “groundless eradication”), thirty-one of the flock went missing. They were found months later on the Chesley, Ontario farm of Mirko Malish, in Grey County. Interestingly Mr. Malish has not been charged and is now a witness for the prosecution.

Raw milk activist and farmer Michael Schmidt, myself, Robert Pinnell and journalist Suzanne Atkinson have subsequently been arrested with a multitude of criminal charges ranging from conspiracy to obstruction to transporting a quarantined animal, and face significant fines and jail time if found guilty.

This continuing drama all stems from allegedly trying to stop a blind government body from killing robust rare livestock to see if they are healthy. I spent the last 14 years dedicated to conservation breeding efforts to prevent Canada’s rare heritage sheep from becoming extinct, yet in a heartbeat, the CFIA’s actions have reduced their population to less than 100 registered breeding animals.

This past week found Michael Schmidt and I back in court, with Shawn Buckley arguing the Crown’s application to remove BOTH of our counsel. Prosecution lawyer Damien Frost claims there may potentially be a conflict during the future trial, some time, perhaps, possibly, maybe, and that we should not be permitted to have either of our chosen legal representation. Just in case.

Our strong legal defense team also included Litigation Director Karen Selick of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, who has been an invaluable treasure of knowledge and dedication to this case.

Frost’s reason for demanding that Ms. Selick step down cited the possibility that the Crown may want her as a witness. She was present on my farm April 2nd, 2012, when the CFIA arrived to kill them and discovered they were gone. That same morning there were also 80 or so other people present—supporters holding a peaceful “Save Our Shrops” rally to protest the killing. Why not call them as witnesses? She is now off the case, leaving only Shawn Buckley to defend Michael Schmidt and I.

After a two-day session the case remains unfinished. A legal issue arose regarding the question of whether or not, on a pre-trial application in a Criminal proceeding, the Crown may cross-examine an accused on issues outside of an affidavit. Defense lawyer Buckley says they cannot, and is filing an appeal on that evidentiary issue.

The third day involved a long overdue bail hearing application that was heard in Cobourg’s Superior Court of Justice. Our previous 4 appearances suffered multiple bumping of dates ever since Michael Schmidt and I were arrested on December 6, 2012. Our passports were seized and a requirement states that we not speak to one another except in the presence of our lawyer—whom they are trying to remove. Confused yet? Nine and a half months later we’ve yet to have a proper bail hearing. The travel restrictions (not allowed to leave Ontario) and non-communication order seems unnecessarily binding. Perhaps the Crown feels Michael Schmidt and I might conspire to rustle my now dead flock of sheep?

The issue was bumped again. Now a new record will be filed on our bail hearing application and a new date fixed.

So after a heavy week, nothing really has changed, unless you count an even greater excess of time, energy and taxpayers money (yours).

Watching the CFIA theatre unfold like a badly acted play leaves my head shaking. I’ve been forced to look at for three years so far.

But court is proving to be…uplifting. This past week was a genuine, inspirational pleasure. An immersion with Michael Schmidt, Shawn Buckley and the nuances of justice have heartened me—good will prevail. I’m so very honoured to be associated with them. Our side is a harmonic convergence of clarity, belief, ethics and right thinking.

Buckley’s balanced, informed submissions throughout the court sessions underlined his ability to present compelling rationales with a grounded presence. Even the CFIA appeared impressed, then quite ruffled, as he eloquently articulated points for the two of us. We’ve not even begun the actual trial, but it’s clear there is no finer representation for this case. No wonder they want him removed as our legal counsel.

After the last session, Michael’s response to our intensive, airless days in court was to round up local fare in the form of incredible baguettes, loaves and treats from MillStone Bread, cheese from A Matter of Taste, and lead us off to the beach for a barefoot, sunny fall picnic by the lake.

Our side is (f)armed with truth, principles, love of the earth, and a wish to do no harm. I can’t say the same about the black shadowed predators lurking.

Montana Jones

Sept 21 2013

Also posted with addendum on Montana’s Go Fund Me page.

14 Comments

Filed under News

14 responses to “Michael Schmidt and Montana Jones in “Legal Limbo – counting months and money wasted, instead of sheep”

  1. the Bovine

    Some follow up with the author:

    Thanks Montana. Great story. Potential conflict of interest sounds pretty vague. Were they able to elaborate on what that might be or were they asking the judge to trust them on that?

    The Bovine

    —–

    The Crown did say that he did not have any evidence of conflict at this time, but that he was concerned that it might come up during the trial.

    I should have explained this…🙂. You could (should?) add that:

    The specific conflict of interest concern was that during the trial either I would be able to harm Michael Schmidt or that he might be able to harm me. We don’t believe that’s possible, nor does our lawyer, and a third party lawyer interviewed each of us separately about the events that transpired and in his opinion we could not either. The Crown still not accepting that.

    Montana,

    —–

    That sounds more like an argument that you and Michael should have separate lawyers, rather than that neither of you should have your current lawyer. From all I had heard up to now it was more that they thought your lawyer would have some conflict of interest and I have a hard time imagining what that would be.

    In fact, in the absence of any more specific objection I’m surprised the judge allowed three days to be wasted hearing about seemingly groundless speculations on the part of the CFIA. Was there really no more to their case?

    Has the prosecution still not completed their disclosures in the case?

    The Bovine

    —-

    Nope…no more to their case. It was incredible hearing them repeat conjecture for days. And apparently there is more disclosure to come to add to our four foot stack, but none theoretically that could add to this point.

    Another major point I neglected to mention in story is that NEITHER one of us would be able to keep Shawn if the Crown has his way. I can add that in comments…

    Montana

    —-

    I’ll just append our little email exchange in the form of a comment. Because I’m sure others will wonder as well. — The Bovine

    • Peter

      Quick comment since they are so adimemt in removing your lawyer, can you not also make a motion to be involed in the selection of the crowns lawyer?

  2. Canada leads World Bank corruption list
    More corrupt isn’t the kind of reputation Canada is looking for on the global stage.
    Unfortunately, Canada leads on the World Bank’s running list of people and companies barred from receiving financing under its fraud and corruption policy.
    As it stands today, Canada has the most new entries on the list, with the addition of 119 people and companies. All but two of those total entries are from SNC-Lavalin and affiliated companies, a World Bank spokesman said Wednesday.
    That compares to 2012, when no Canadian companies were added to the list
    SNC-Lavalin and related companies and individuals are banned from receiving World Bank-financed contracts for 10 years.
    The United States ranked second on the list by number of people and firms, also with some SNC-Lavalin related companies, followed by Indonesia and Britain, the World Bank said.
    James David Fielder, the World Bank’s manager of investigations, told the Financial Post that SNC-Lavalin’s ranking is the result of an investigation it conducted with the RCMP relating to the Padma Bridge Project in Bangladesh.
    The World Bank pulled its $1.2-billion (U.S.) loan for the project amid corruption allegations.
    On Wednesday, the Globe and Mail reported a former SNC Lavalin executive who oversaw construction of the bridge has been charged under Canada’s foreign bribery law. The RCMP charged two other SNC officials last year.
    The World Bank has been cracking down on fraud and corruption related to its aid program.
    The number of firms and individuals banned this year is four times the number for all of 2012.
    It expects sanctions to increase as it continues to fight against the misappropriation of its resources.

  3. could you please clarify what made the lack of Mirko Malish being charged so interesting?

    • BC Food Security

      Since it is before the courts it is best to leave some questions “unanswered” especially where serious criminal charges are involved. However if we simply use our common sense (something for which there has been a remarkable shortage) here we will know the answer without asking anybody else !

  4. Robert Pinnell

    Nothing is more important then the fight for freedom. Many speek of freedom as if it was present in everyday life. Sadly this is not true. We the parents of today have a responsibility to our children to fight against oppression in what ever form it takes. This fight is just and our children will be the ones to suffer if we falter. I stand with the accused because it is the right thing to do. I know history will show that a few made a difference by saying ” I will not go quietly into the night “. This fight is about more then sheep it is about our future.

  5. Do they not feel that there was ANY injustice in killing someones livestock/livelihood when they CLEARLY wrongly assumed the sheep might of had scrapie??? No remorse, or apology, no financial covering of the loss??
    Where has humanity gone in people??

    and I’m also very curious about Mirko Malish…how did he get to the other side so easily?

  6. BC Food Security

    Is freedom something we “fight for ” ? Or something we collectively grow or evolve into ? Some thinkers believe that by aggressively opposing what you do not want you actually empower it ? A different approach would be to work to create an alternative, higher and greener reality (sort of a parallel universe) and let the old way die on its own . I see absolutely nothing in the way of dialog from the CFIA after almost 2 years of this particular confrontation business . They are as arrogant , cocky and wasteful of taxpayer funds as ever (if not moreso) . Is there a third way I wonder ? I wonder for the amount of time, energy and resources that have been invested in this battle if it might have all been done a different more sustainable way with a better result ? What are the checks and balances here ? How many man-hours have the good guys invested in this so far ? How many more are needed ? I am still not clear what exactly the overall goal is here other than confrontation for the sake of confrontation ? Who has the vision of a new and higher more evolved alternative ? I have yet to hear of it . For the amount of man-hours that have been piled into this confrontation who actually has the blueprint for an alternative method for running the CFIA ? Or has anybody actually even given that any thought ? We criticize the CFIA yet I have never heard of anybody make any realistic and concrete proposals about how the CFIA should or could be better run . Did I miss something ? Complaining for the sake of complaining is of dubious value unless it is backed up by mature , clear and viable solutions.

  7. Jacob

    Well written Montana. You are an attribute to the cause of Liberty! You make me proud to have associations with you. I would love a letter of commendation from you. for the AAPA local currency bank. check it out. https://communities.cyclos.org/Albertaprosperity#home

  8. Pingback: Michael Schmidt and Montana Jones in “Legal Limbo counting months and money wasted, instead of sheep” | Crystal Kids Radio

  9. Karen Cooper

    After reading this story, my thought about moving to Canada – is trashed. The criminality of killing all the of the rare Shropshire sheep after the testing showing they were all healthy is beyond reality. That was an attempt to stop people of making a living – strong arm of government which is what is going on in the U.S. also. This whole thing is utterly beyond any excuse they can come up. The entire administration of the government needs to be sent packing and find people who care about their country, the people and the animals. Canada decided to produce oil and kill all the animals in the area and pollute the entire world with their drilling. Even the people of Canada voted against the pipeline to supply China – who by the way pollutes the world more than almost any other country. GEEZ, what is the various governments coming to – destruction of our world.

  10. Robert Pinnell

    I am one of the accused in this case. I rarely comment for fear of anything I say being taken out of text. I an not a public person and I value my privacy very highly but I feel I must put aside my feelings to show my support. I am very proud to be standing beside my friends no matter what the outcome of the trial. In reading over both the case notes and the comments left by others I feel the support of the average person is with us. The person that works hard and does not expect things to be given to them. I feel all we want I the ability to eat or drink what we chose as informed consumers. The right to work in a manner that preserves our own state of self respect I feel that this fight is not about 31 sheep it is about basic rights to live our lives. It is about the right to chose what we feel is best for us without a governing body telling us what is good for us. We are not all the same we have the right to chose what we feel is the best for us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s