Monday, Oct 20, 2008
An organic farmer found guilty Monday morning of ignoring a court order to stop selling unpasteurized milk asked the judge to give him the maximum penalty.
Michael Schmidt has run a co-operative organic dairy farm near Owen Sound, Ont., for more than 20 years.
Contempt charges were sought by York Region officials, who fear there are health risks for people consuming the raw milk, including the risk of spreading salmonella, E. coli and listeria bacteria.
Schmidt still faces 20 charges laid by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Grey-Bruce Health Unit. In order to save money for that trial, expected to begin in early 2009, Schmidt defended himself in the contempt case.
(Article continues below)
Justice R. Cary Boswell is yet to deliver a sentence for Schmidt, but did not say when that decision would be made.
While the Crown was not seeking jail time, Schmidt told the judge at a courthouse in Newmarket, Ont., to impose “the highest penalty you can find.”
York Region lawyer Dan Kuzmyk said he was unwilling to let Schmidt become a martyr and “throw himself on the sword of York Region.”
Justice Boswell said the case was about whether Schmidt had defied a court ruling, not whether consumers had the right to drink raw milk.
This article was posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 4:03 am