The Canadian Press
January 26, 2009
NEWMARKET, Ont. ‚ÄĒ A renegade dairy farmer played the role of a lawyer Monday at the start of his trial for selling raw, unpasteurized milk and suggested his rights have been violated.
Spectators crowded into a small courtroom to hear details of an orchestrated, armed raid by about two dozen officers and government officials on a Durham, Ont., farm in 2006.
The Crown said it will disclose evidence of a clandestine, undercover investigation into the illegal sale of dangerous substances stored on the farm, sometimes on clear display in open sight.
The illicit products, which spawned 20 charges against farm owner Michael Schmidt, were raw milk, as well as cream, cheese and other items made with it.
Schmidt, who is defending himself, was defiant in countering Crown suggestions that raw milk is considered too dangerous for consumption and said he’s defending everyone’s right to drink it.
He drank a big gulp of raw milk from a mason jar in court during a recess.
In his opening statement, Schmidt said the core issue was not milk but the “respect to (which) the individual’s freedom has been lost or wilfully ignored.”
While raw milk is legal to drink it’s illegal to sell in Canada. Schmidt has been charged in connection with selling it to about 150 customers.