Carmichael pleads guilty
Mississauga, Ontario, (October 4, 2006) --- Shawn Carmichael of Spencerville pleaded guilty today in Brockville Provincial Offences Court to five charges laid against him under the provincial Farm Products Marketing Act by Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO). Carmichael, who operates Stoney Meadow Farms, pled guilty to charges of production of pullets without quota, possession of fowl without quota, marketing of eggs without quota, failing to pay applicable levies in connection with the possession of fowl, and failing to pay applicable levies in connection with the production of eggs.
"Today’s guilty plea confirms the integrity of our system. We believe it sends a strong message to consumers and farmers that Egg Farmers of Ontario will not back down from challenges to the egg marketing system, which enables us to maintain our commitment to consumers to provide a safe and healthy food product," said Harry Pelissero, Egg Farmers of Ontario General Manager.
On March 23, 2006, representatives of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Egg Farmers of Ontario executed search warrants at the Carmichael farm issued to them as part of an ongoing cooperative investigation. On the day of the search, EFO Inspectors counted approximately 9,000 birds and 4,500 dozen ungraded eggs packaged for sale. Shawn Carmichael is registered with Egg Farmers of Ontario as an exempt producer, which permits him to hold up to 100 fowl without having quota. The activities found on March 23, 2006 indicated that an extensive illegal egg producing and marketing operation was being conducted, which led to the laying of charges under the Farm Products Marketing Act.
Shawn Carmichael elected to plead guilty early in the proceedings without going to trial. Other charges against Shawn Carmichael were withdrawn as part of the resolution reached with Egg Farmers of Ontario, including companion charges laid against Paula Carmichael and Raspbic Farms Ltd., a corporation associated with the Carmichael operation. In association with the guilty plea, Shawn Carmichael confirmed that he had paid the sum of $2,500.00 to "Breakfast for Learning", a charity selected by Egg Farmers of Ontario.
In a separate, but related proceeding, Shawn and Paula Carmichael recently consented to a permanent injunction preventing them from engaging in the production or marketing of eggs, the production of pullets or the possession of fowl, unless in compliance with the requirements of the Farm Products Marketing Act and applicable regulations. Shawn and Paula Carmichael also agreed that they would not obstruct or hinder Egg Farmers of Ontario inspectors from carrying out their inspection duties in the future.
A lawsuit initiated by Shawn and Paula Carmichael against Egg Farmers of Ontario and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has been discontinued against the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, but not with respect to Egg Farmers of Ontario. The lawsuit claims damages in relation to the effects of the search undertaken at the Carmichaels on March 23, 2006. Egg Farmers of Ontario believes that the claim is without merit and will vigorously defend it if it proceeds.
EFO will seek restitution for unpaid levies and license fees incurred by Mr. Carmichael during his illegal activity.
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