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“Trial of the century” to be continued in June


Michael Schmidt and Four Others Cited with Obstructing a Police Officer.


Glencolton Farms


Farmer Michael Schmidt leading his dairy herd.

Raw milk raid subject to scrutiny in court proceedings

This is overkill. We are peaceful farm owners. The arresting officers put us in the category of domestic terrorists just because we want to continue drinking fresh milk from our cows.”
— Beverly Viljakainen, witness for the defense

WALKERTON, ONTARIO, CANADA, March 30, 2017 / -- A 10-day trial of four farmers came to a close last Friday, March 24, 2017. It became clear to the judge early in the trial that the 5-days allocated were not enough. After 10 days, the judge adjourned the trial until June due to lack of courtroom space.

An added challenge to the court proceedings was the investigating officer’s false claim that the farmers were members of the “Freemen of the Land” extremist group which led to the presence of a special police force during trial and mandatory heightened security.

The classification was sent to a national database and to border agencies affecting the accused in many aspects of their private lives and putting tremendous burden on them. During the trial, the officer who got the arrest warrant, under oath retracted the assertion that the arrestees were part of the “Freeman of the Land” extremist group.

Walkerton court employees jokingly call the criminal charges against the farmers, and the subsequent court proceedings, the “trial of the century” These four men, along with a fifth whose charges were dropped, were charged with obstructing a police officer during a well-publicized raid on Glencolton Farms on October 2nd 2015.

The four men on trial are Michael Schmidt an outspoken activist on food rights who lives on the farm that was raided; Robert Pinnell, whose charges were recently dismissed due to lack of evidence; John Schnurr, business consultant; and George Bothwell who was still at-large prior to the trial but was arrested when he appeared in court.

Glencolton Farms co op owners testified about the dramatic stand-off at their farm where they source their food. The farm has been the center of the Canadian raw milk battle for over 23 years. 150 families who are members in the Our Farm-Our Foods cooperative, own Glencolton Farms dairy cooperatively.

“This is overkill,” says Beverly Viljakainen one of the witnesses called by the defense at the trial. “We are peaceful farm owners. The arresting officers put us in the category of domestic terrorists just because we want to continue drinking fresh milk from our cows. When will this absurdity stop?”

The date in June for the continuation of the trial has not been determined. None of the remaining three defendants are in custody. All three defend themselves without a lawyer

For more info on the raid, see this Facebook video.

Our Farms, Our Foods Coop is a 200 member cooperative formed for the purpose of boarding personal cows with a responsible dairyman. The group is just one of the many interested stakeholders in changing Canadian policy on raw milk. For additional information on raw milk For more on this case see The Bovine.

Photo Caption: Five men are from left to right: Michael Schmidt, John Schnurr, George Bothwell, Enos Martin, Robert Pinnell.

Liz Reitzig
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