(This post has been edited since it was originally posted. In particular, the letter from the defense lawyer to the prosecutor, referred to in the second paragraph–originally included with the post and then removed shortly after at the request of the defendants and their lawyer–has now been included after the defense concluded it wasn’t prohibited from publication.)


Add an additional piece of evidence to the list I provided in my previous blog post indicating desperation, and possible corruption, in the CFIA prosecution of Canadian farmers Michael Schmidt and Montana Jones.


In a 22-page letter presented today to the prosecutor’s office in the case, the defendants’ lawyer, Shawn Buckley, argues that the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) deliberately withheld from the defense key evidence about which of the sheep showed signs of scrapie and the course of the testing for the serious farm animal disease. 


In Canada, as in the U.S., prosecutors are required to provide the defense records of incriminating evidence that is to be presented to a judge and/or jury. That documentation is supposed to be presented in a timely way, to allow the defense lawyers time to digest it and develop arguments to rebut potentially false or misleading evidence. 


Buckley in his letter provides multiple examples of the CFIA providing incomplete or misleading documentation, especially with regard to emails that circulated among CFIA agents and other officials about the questionable sheep. 


Buckley states near the end of his letter: “My clients are now firmly of the belief that they are being railroaded into a conviction. Based on the disclosure over the last few days, I cannot fault them for this belief…I am forming the opinion that the Defense should seriously consider bringing an abuse of process application, although I will need the requested disclosure for this. Part of this application may include the assertion that if it is true that evidence was being withheld from the Defense, that setting the Defense up for what could only be described as a ‘pretend preliminary inquiry’ was itself abusive. Aside from now not being prepared for the preliminary inquiry scheduled to continue on Monday, I am firmly of the opinion that it would be inappropriate for it to continue when the preliminary inquiry itself may be abusive without further disclosure.”


He concludes: “In addition to the late disclosure issues, two of the witnesses you called last week shared with me their belief, based on their dealings with the CFIA that these proceedings were motivated to get at Mr. Schmidt. I must confess that I largely brushed these comments off. Then another person this week approached me with the same comment. Now with the issues outlined above with the new disclosure, I am thinking I need to follow up with those persons on that issue.”


It must be getting a little uncomfortable around the collar for the CFIA prosecutors.