Tag Archives: court

After Court Today, a Decision Will Be Rendered Sometime Next Week

This morning, both sides made their arguments at the Ontario court of appeal as to whether or not the raw milk injunction should be stayed while our constitutional application is moving along.The judge reserved his decision; our lawyers say we might not receive the decision Monday, but they do expect it sometime next week.
I want to express gratitude to each and every person who came out to the hearing this morning; I think we somehow got to the exact right number (we must have been about 40, maybe more, including several people I spoke to from other cow-share communities). The room was full even after the clerks brought in extra chairs, and while unfortunately a few people could not get into the room, it meant that every time someone left, another took their place. Maybe our presence officially made no difference, but NOT having the room completely full of supporters to witness the process would surely have sent the wrong message that maybe it wasn’t so important to us.
If you haven’t been following the crowdfunding campaign, take a look:  https://www.gofundme.com/legal-raw-milk-canada
And please, please share it widely across social media. The online campaign is just one part of the fundraising picture – individual community members have been generous with legal donations through FarmMatch, cheques and e-transfers – but it’s our primary way of mobilizing support beyond our direct cow-share communities.

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Hearing Friday Feb. 23rd at 10 am of Motion for Stay of Injunction

Tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 23rd, the lawyers that we are raising funds to pay for (see post below) will be appearing before a judge at Osgoode Hall to put forward a motion for a stay of the injunction, pending an appeal of the January 2018 decision to grant injunctions to criminalize the operation of the milk bottling and cheese-making operation (aka a “milk plant”) at Glencolton Farms, as well as distribution of milk to Coop members in the Regions of York, Simcoe and Peel.
Estimates are that the courtroom may have space for 30-40 audience members. Some of those seats may be filled with supporters of the injunction. Raw milk and food freedom enthusiasts are encouraged to come out and show their support. The outcome of this motion is very important to the farm and to those wishing to drink the milk
Please be sure to remember to bring your best court room decorum. I’m sure you are all already aware, but the judge will be very irritated by any talking, cheering, cell phones, etc. If anyone has to leave the court room during the motion for some reason, please re-enter quietly and bow to the judge upon entry. Our lawyers will be quite focused going into the hearing, so will not be able to talk much to anyone outside the core group until after.
The motion will be heard at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Court Room No. 7 at 10:00 a.m. If you’re coming, aim to arrive early.
The short title of proceedings is: Gavin Downing et al. v. Agri-Cultural Renewal Co-operative Inc. et al.

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No More Raw Milk for Coop Members due to Injunctions Granted to Shut Down “Milk Plant” and “Distribution”

Glencolton Farms farmer Elisa van der Hout leads a group of OFOF Coop members on a tour of the dairy barn back in April of 2017.

Members of Our Farm Our Food Coop are in a tight spot due to injunctions granted  January 5th to Ontario Milk Director Gavin Downing and the Regions of York, Simcoe and Peel.

In short these injunctions would shut down the “milk plant” at Glencolton Farms and also criminalize continued “distribution” of raw milk in the Regions of York, Simcoe and Peel. The injunctions apply to anyone who has knowledge of the court ordered injunctions, so potentially these apply not just to the operations of Glencolton Farms and the Our Farm Our Food Coop (OFOF) but to any raw milk suppliers or cowshare groups.

One of the few media reports on the injunction that has appeared so far, has been a story in the Owen Sound Sun Times, titled “Court Stops Raw Milk Work“. It remains to be seen whether Milk Director Gavin Downing or representatives of any of the Regions (York, Simcoe, Peel) which asked for the injunctions, will take steps to publicize them, now that they have been granted by the court. Because, after all, the injunctions only apply to those who have knowledge of them.

In his 25 page ruling, Justice Sutherland said that the injunction originally asked for by the Regions was overbroad and that the injunction which he granted more closely followed the wording of the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act. Continue reading

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Michael Schmidt was Convicted in Walkerton Court of Obstruction

Michael Schmidt in front of the Walkerton Court House at an earlier stage of the Obstruction trial on August 25th, 2017.

Raw milk activist and farmer Michael Schmidt was convicted yesterday (Oct. 19th, 2017) in Walkerton court of obstructing a peace officer. The charge arises from a raid on Glencolton Farms on October 2nd, 2015 in which investigators were prevented — by the crowds of supporters — from leaving the farm with equipment which they had seized. They were eventually allowed to leave once the equipment had been removed from the truck.

This court case has dragged on for many weeks and months, with multiple adjournments, most recently until this past Tuesday Oct. 17, when Michael Schmidt filed an 11b motion to have the case thrown out, since it was taking an excessive time to have justice rendered. In considering Michael’s motion, the judge discounted several months of time required to hear the 20 defense witnesses, on the basis that their testimony had been useless.

Sentencing is set for Wednesday November 8th. Regarding a possible appeal, Michael is currently reviewing all options. Michael says:

“There is already an outstanding appeal in regards of the denial by this judge to have access to West Grey police records which got strangely enough deleted. They relate to communication about who to charge. These e mails were always at the Center of many heated exchanges between me and the judge. The other appeal I am looking at is the 11 b application. He dismissed the validity of ALL our witnesses which is astounding and never heard of. I am currently getting all transcripts. The biggest surprise was that he acquitted John Schnurr. But it highlights that they wanted to get me at all costs.”

Blackburn News is reporting on this story.

The Dock reported on the story.

Owen Sound Sun Times coverage can be read here.


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Closing Arguments this Friday Aug. 25 in Obstruction Case in Walkerton

Activist farmer Michael Schmidt and the remaining accused will be in court at Walkerton this Friday for the judge to hear closing arguments in a case dating from the October 2015 standoff at Glencolton Farms.

According to Michael’s wife, Elisa van der Hout, proceedings are expected to start around 9:30 am in Walkerton. The court has already heard several days of arguments in this case, which whas dragged out over the course of several months.

These court proceedings are open to the public.

Read these earlier posts for more background on the case:

Michael Schmidt at the Walkerton trial on obstruction charges — questions re email deletions and police escalation

News from raw milk “obstruction” trial

One acquittal, more court dates, for five accused in Walkerton obstruction case

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News from raw milk “obstruction” trial

On his Complete Patient blog, David E. Gumpert has published a comprehensive roundup of the state of the two pending legal cases regarding raw milk at Glencolton Farms:

“In one action, Schmidt and Elisa VanderHout face the threat of court proceedings from an injunction to “enforce” the ban on “distribution” of raw milk. Michael and his wife, Elisa, argue that the milk act does not apply to the shared ownership arrangement that governs the operations at Glencolton Farms.

The submissions for the injunction case are over. A ruling from the judge could come any day on whether or not he will grant the injunction from York Region and the Ontario  Ministry of Agriculture. If granted, the ruling will move  the prosecution into criminal proceedings (contempt of court) to any farmers, mothers, community leaders, etc. who participate in a milk drop or handle raw milk for human consumption. In the case of Glencolton Farms, the farm is a cooperative structure, which means that many members own the farm and benefit from everything that the farm produces. This case in Canada is an important one to watch as the ruling—either way–will significantly affect what foods Canadians have access to and how the regulatory agencies and courts will target individual farmers and producers.

In a second and more dramatic case, Schmidt continues his trial on the charges of obstruction of a peace officer . These charges, against Michael and originally four other men, stem from the raid on Glencolton Farms by Glenn Jarvie and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in October 2015. During the raid, the government confiscated computers and some documents before 80 farm owners, friends and neighbours showed up and blocked the driveway. Farm members stood in the cold driveway at the farm, blocking the government vehicles from leaving as long as the trucks had the farm owners’ property in them. Only five people were charged. Over the course of the hearings for the obstruction charges, all were dropped except the charges against Schmidt and two other defendants.

Schmidt provided a recent video update where he speaks about the bureaucratic mishaps that have him labeled as a Canadian “terrorist,” in the words of at least one law enforcement person involved in the court proceedings. The irony of this is that Michael is a firm advocate of peaceful resistance. The entire time Michael has stood up for his rights as a farmer and for the rights of consumers to procure the foods of their choice from the producer of their choice, he has done so with an emphasis on non-violence.

Just after he gave that update, Schmidt was back in court. During that court proceeding, after a particularly agitated exchange between the defendants and the judge, a spectator left the courtroom and said aloud that the court proceedings were not seeking the truth or justice. This led to the court police assaulting the man, giving him injuries that led to his being taken to the hospital where he was released after treatment later that day. Schmidt provided another video update about the incident….”

Read it all on “The Complete Patient” blog.

The obstruction trial is set to continue in Walkerton on July 28th, August 4th and August 25th of 2017.

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Third day of injunction hearing May 31 — hearing continues Mon. June 5th, with Michael Schmidt and OFOF

Markus, Elisa, and Michael with a stack of documents outside the Newmarket court house after day three. Elisa said she just wanted to go home and sleep, after presenting for most of the day.

Day three of the hearing of the injunction applications from Ontario Milk Director Gavin Downing, and the Region of York was devoted to presentations from the respondents — Elisa van der Hout (on behalf of the Agricultural Renewal Coop), Rev. Jonah Evans (on behalf of the Christian Community church) and Markus Schmidt (representing himself).

Michael Schmidt and Lewis (Skip) Taylor (speaking on behalf of Our Farm Our Food coop) will present their responses to the application on Monday June 5th.

Michael Schmidt will be appearing in another court later this week to answer obstruction charges related to the Oct. 2, 2015 raid on Glencolton Farms.

A more detailed report on what was said will follow later in this space, but for now, here’s a video from Marianne Else, about the day’s proceedings:

Also watch the video and read the report on day three from Roger Klein at CTV Barrie

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