by Beverley Viljakainen
Three of the five men charged with obstructing a peace officer during the October 2, 2015 raid on Glencolton Farms comprised the defence at the trial that began in Walkerton on March 6, 2017: Robert Pinnell, Michael Schmidt and John Schnurr, each representing himself. Robert Pinnell was acquitted during the second week of proceedings and the trial was adjourned on March 23 until additional dates and court space can be arranged, to be finalized on April 12. It is anticipated that another three days will be needed, the judge’s ruling to be handed down thereafter.
As one of Michael’s witnesses, I was unable to be in the courtroom until after I testified, but I did spend some time in the waiting room in support of those inside. The rather large police presence, both inside and outside the courtroom, was not missed on anyone. Each day there were usually four OPP uniformed officers, heavily armed at the waist, sitting or standing across the back of the courtroom, while three others sat in a small meeting room adjacent to the waiting room until it was their turn to relieve those inside. It felt like a very them-us situation and I began to wonder if they felt safer in there? Was it a status thing? Were we who were waiting in the larger area the proverbial ‘other’ to them? Suffice it to say that, for me, it was a very strange way for a police officer to spend his or her working day and there were a lot of them having to do just that. Continue reading