We’ve heard that several times over the past month from folks who’ve been loosely connected with the raw milk scene in Ontario.
The trouble is, it’s just not true. Well, to be more accurate, it seemed to be true for a while following the January 2010 acquittal of Michael Schmidt on all charges relating to the 2006 raid on his Glencolton Farms. And that’s the era that this recently widely circulated Toronto Star news story is from. See frame grab from Facebook above.
However, since that acquittal, the Crown has appealed the case. Some jurisdictions in the United States, for instance, wouldn’t allow the appeal of such an acquittal. They call it “double jeopardy” down there. They consider it being tried twice for the same offense. However, in many jurisdictions in the United States at least, dealing in raw milk is not outlawed the way it is in Canada. Not to mention Europe and many other countries around the globe where raw milk is an accepted minority taste.
So, back to our story. The Crown appealed the acquittal. Michael was tried again, and this time he was convicted. Then he was sentenced. And then he requested leave to appeal the conviction. Apparently it’s not automatic that you can do that. It depends on the merits of your case or something. Anyway, the judge at Osgoode Hall must have thought Michael had a pretty good case, so he allowed him to appeal. That appeal hearing is scheduled to start February 5th, 2014. So you could say Michael has been convicted. Or you could say the case is in legal limbo. But you couldn’t really say that raw milk is now legal in Ontario. Although you could look around and see that no effort is being made to prosecute the many purveyors of raw milk who have sprung up in the wake of Michael Schmidt’s popularization of the drink.
And then there’s the ongoing legal case around Our Cows in Chilliwack B.C. in which Michael is also involved. AND the Shropshire sheepnapping conspiracy charges. See story below, and see Montana Jones’ “Save Our Shrops” FB page for ongoing coverage.