Decision put off in Michael Schmidt raw milk case

A Newmarket court has once again delayed releasing a decision in an appeal in the case of raw milk advocate Michael Schmidt, who was earlier cleared of 19 charges related to the selling of raw milk.

Schmidt said during an interview from Thornhill on Tuesday that shortly before he had scheduled a news conference to announce the decision, his lawyer received an e-mail saying the release of the ruling had been delayed.

“It was an electronic message from the court house saying we have a computer problem, we will not release the ruling today,” Schmidt said Tuesday. “It’s supposed to be released some time (Wednesday) . . . it will come by e-mail.”

Schmidt said it’s a bit frustrating that the court has for a fourth time since July put off releasing the result of an appeal by the provincial attorney general and the Grey Bruce Health Unit on a ruling by Justice of the Peace Paul Kowarsky.

Kowarsky ruled in January that Schmidt’s cow share program for raw milk consumers did not violate provincial regulations meant to protect the public health. That decision was appealed to a judge in the Ontario Court of Justice.

Meanwhile Schmidt has been named in a contempt of court action in a British Columbia court for continuing to sell raw milk after being ordered to stop.

He said the $55,000 fine being sought by the B.C. Crown bears an uncanny resemblance to the amount levied against him by an Ontario court for a contempt of court conviction a couple of years ago. The Ontario fine was also $55,000.

B.C. authorities decided to take Schmidt to court on a charge of contempt of court shortly after he took over a cow share program in British Columbia on behalf of a raw milk producer.

“What a surprise, just like in the good old days in Ontario. I received hand delivered a package of court files with the application to the Supreme Court of B.C. to find me guilty of contempt by contravening an order not to produce milk for human consumption,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt said he plans to fight efforts of the British Columbia public health officials to shut down raw milk operations in that province with the same vigour that he has used in Ontario.


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