Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Food inspectors try to jail woman whose sheep they killed

Help defend farmers charged in rare sheep case | Indiegogo - Karen Selick:

August 7, 2015 - "We need help raising a legal defence fund for Montana Jones and Michael Schmidt, two Ontario farmers charged with defying the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). We have to be careful what we say here, because the government recently asked for (and got) a publication ban on this case.

"Back in 2010, the CFIA issued an order  quarantining Montana’s farm. They suspected her sheep had a disease called scrapie.... They did live biopsies on Montana’s flock. All were negative for scrapie. But the CFIA said that wasn’t good enough. The sheep would have to be killed, and their brains examined....

"On the day before the CFIA were coming to slaughter the sheep, someone removed them surreptitiously from the farm.... Eventually, they found the flock about 8 weeks later, 300 km away. The CFIA killed all the recovered sheep, and examined their brains. All tested negative for scrapie, just as Montana had predicted they would....

"Now four people have been charged with criminal offences. One person has pleaded guilty.  The other three, including Montana Jones and Michael Schmidt, are awaiting a jury trial.  Their charges were laid in December, 2012, but the case is still at the preliminary hearing stage.  No trial date has been set yet....

"The Canadian Constitution Foundation and lawyer Shawn Buckley are defending Montana and Michael, but it’s going to be expensive. The prosecution, with their huge resources (your tax dollars), are trying to exhaust our resources....

"The prosecution has wasted our resources (deliberately, we suspect) by bringing one long motion after another.  One of their motions was to force me (Karen Selick) off the case, alleging I had a conflict of interest because I represented both Montana and Michael. The prosecutors have now subpoenaed me as a witness (yes, against my own clients) as a technique for keeping me off the case.

"They also brought a lengthy motion to force Shawn Buckley off the case, but fortunately the judge ruled that Shawn could carry on.  Then there was the publication ban motion — another long court procedure that used up the defence’s resources and hampered our ability to inform the public about government actions.

"The CFIA clearly wants to put Montana and Michael in jail. When the CFIA investigator first raided Michael Schmidt’s farm in August, 2012, he crowed to Michael, 'Your travelling days are over, Mr. Schmidt.'  The prosecutor once told me that he intends for them to go to a federal penitentiary, which means a minimum sentence of two years. In fact, with the number of charges facing each of them, they could conceivably end up in jail for a decade or more.

"Please help keep these ethical farmers out of jail.  Please donate, then share this page with anyone who cares about healthy natural food, preserving biodiversity, freedom from rampant bureaucracy, freedom of the press, and justice in Canada’s courts.

"The Canadian Constitution Foundation — 'freedom’s defence team' — is a registered charity in both Canada and the US. If you donate at least $25, you’ll get a receipt that you can use to claim a deduction on your income tax return."

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