Michael Schmidt was sentenced November 6th to 60 days of jail time for obstruction of a peace officer. Citizen Beverly Viljakainen raises some questions about whether justice was done in the court proceedings leading up to that judicial ruling.
The case has been widely reported on in the news media. Here are links to a few recent media reports:
Radio interview with lawyer Karen Selick
Owen Sound Sun Times
Video clip from CTV London
92.3 The Dock
SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO’S DIFFICULTIES WITH DAIRY FARMER MICHAEL SCHMIDT
by Beverley Viljakainen, November 11 , 2017
1. Why, during the 2017 obstruction of a peace officer trial, were erased e-mails between the chief investigator of the 2015 raid on Glencolton Farms and the arresting officer of the local municipal police unit deemed by Justice Minard to be irrelevant when he supposedly had no way of knowing what they contained? This when both correspondents knew they would be laying obstruction charges and in no way considered the case closed. It is quite possible that the contents of these e-mails would have provided evidence crucial to the defence’s case, especially given that the arresting officer was under the erroneous impression that the five men eventually charged were members of an organization called Freemen of the Land, information possibly used to obtain the search warrant. When the defence questioned the grounds upon which the warrant was obtained, the Justice disallowed it, saying that Mr. Schmidt was on a “fishing expedition” and wasting valuable court time.
2. Why, after several months of a criminal trial supposed to get at the truth, did someone at the Walkerton Court House instruct the Offenders Transport driver, who was taking now-convicted offender Michael Schmidt to prison in Penetanguishene, to advise its staff that Mr. Schmidt was a Freeman of the Land when there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim? The admittance staff member greeted Mr. Schmidt with, “So you are a Freeman of the Land” and readily explained how he had come to know. Continue reading
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.
Michael Schmidt raw milk story is getting some “ink” on Modern Farmer:
“The latest court battle isn’t actually even about distributing raw milk, per se. Schmidt and four others, John Schnurr, a business consultant; and George Bothwell, Robert Pinnell, and Enos Martin, all farmers, were charged with obstructing a peace officer after a standoff at Schmidt’s farm during a October 2015 raid by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Ministry of Natural Resources, along with local police. This was the third raid on the farm. The first was in 1994 and the second in 2006,
In this latest raid, around 50 people—mostly co-op members—blocked the farm’s entrance with a tractor and prevented the officers from removing some of the farm’s equipment. Pinnel and Martin later had their charges dismissed, but the other men, who are representing themselves, are still fighting it out in provincial court. After a 1o-day trial in March, the case was adjourned until June due to scheduling conflicts. The prosecution has finished its case and the defense is set to begin when the trial resumes, says Schmidt….”
Get the full story on “Modern Farmer”.
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
Court report just in from farmer Michael Schmidt:
Ken McPherson, formerly a detective with the West Grey Police, addresses the crowd at the standoff October 2, 2015, from which the obstruction charges, now being tried in Walkerton, are related.
Six weeks after the standoff at Glencolton Farms on October 2.2015 five arrest warrants were issued. As a result Michael Schmidt, John Schnurr and Robert Pinnell turned themselves in at the West Grey Police Station. They got arrested, fingerprinted, mug-shots were taken and then they were released.
Enos Martin a local farmer never got notified. They violently arrested him three times on the same charge, twice on the same day and a third time weeks later in front of his crying wife and young children. He ended up in hospital filed a complained to charge the officers for assault. His charges got dropped.
The arrest warrant for George Hugh Bothwell was made public by West Grey Police in the Owen Sound Sun Times. No success.
A facebook page FIND GEORGE achieved only humorous postings and George Hugh Bothwell was not to be “found”, despite Geo happily living and farming at home.
Ken McPherson is the West Grey Detective in charge of investigating the failed spy camera affair, was in attendance as a peace officer at the raid October 2. 2015. He laid the charges and issued the arrest warrants for the 5 accused.
He suddenly resigned from West Grey Police and deleted all his e mails on the police computer according to a response from the Police department after a Freedom of Information request had been filed. Continue reading
From Kirk Scott on Blackburn News:
Photo of Michael Schmidt, John Schurr and Robert Pinnell is from Blackburn News.
“Four people along with Michael Schmidt have been charged related to the raid on a Durham area raw milk operation last month.
Provincial officials along with police raided a raw milk operation near Durham on October 2nd.
A large crowd of Schmidt supporters showed up and the raid was called off.
Now four men along with Schmidt are charged by West Grey police with obstructing justice.
Schmidt and two of the four others showed up at West Grey Police headquarters this morning for fingerprinting and mug shots.
Schmidt says if police are trying to intimidate his supporters, it’s liable to backfire….”
Read more on Blackburn News.