Kojonup GM case appeal filed

06 Oct, 2015 02:41 PM
Stephen Marsh
Stephen Marsh

UPDATED: THE High Court of Australia has confirmed an application for special leave to appeal has been lodged by Stephen Marsh's lawyers Slater and Gordon.

Slater and Gordon say the application was lodged last Thursday, within the 28-day appeal period.

Farm Weekly believes Mr Marsh's neighbour Michael Baxter was not notified of the application until Tuesday morning.

Slater and Gordon commercial litigation lawyer Mark Walter said: "An application for special leave to appeal has been filed with the High Court of Australia regarding the case of Marsh v Baxter. Further details of the appeal will be part of the court process. We will not be making any further comment."

A ruling on September 3 upheld last year's decision of Justice Ken Martin which rejected their $85,000 compensation claim over losing their organic status when GM canola swathes landed on the WA organic sheep and grain farm in late 2010.

The Appeal Court's majority 2-1 decision rejected the appeal against Justice Martin's comprehensive 150-page judgement which had roundly dismissed the Marshes' causes of action in common law negligence and private nuisance.

"It was obviously a two-one decision so they weren't all against us," Mr Marsh told media outside the court after last month's ruling.

About 70 per cent of Mr Marsh's farm was decertified by the National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA) which has a zero tolerance for GMs.

Despite the original ruling which attacked the zero-tolerance to GM and the appeal court decision - NASAA has stated it won't budge on its zero tolerance for GM plants.

Farming and industry groups have also criticised NASAA's hard-line stance on GMs while urging greater coexistence and tolerance between conventional and organic farmers.

Earlier this week prior to hearing of the application , Mr Baxter told Farm Weekly that he or his lawyers had not been served with any relevant documents.

"I hope that's the end of it," he said.

After the Appeal Court ruling, Queensland agribusiness layer Trent Thorne said if the Marsh camp wished to appeal the decision, the matter wasn't automatically sent to a hearing, with the first step being to seek special leave from the High Court.

He said that special leave could be based on whether there was something novel in law with the case that made it sufficiently important for the High Court to consider the matter.

The Marshes had also appealed Justice Martin's judgement which awarded costs of about $804,000 in Mr Baxter's favour.

Safe Food Foundation director Scott Kinnear said the foundation would continue to support Mr Marsh with fundraising and was pleased he had made the decision to move on with the High Court bid.

"Fundraising is our support and that's a big job as this litigation has been ridiculously expensive and we still don't have a result," he said.

"It is very disappointing that we've gone to the second highest court in Australia and there's two judgements... they're equal and opposite to each other in many ways.

"There's been more than $2m in lawyers' money spent and there's two completely opposite interpretations of the law and how it should be applied.

"That's why it's important that the High Court see fit to hear this appeal."

In an earlier version of this story, it said that the appeal application was not filed before the 28-day deadline. Slater and Gordon say the appeal application was lodged within the deadline, on Thursday, October 1.

Date: Newest first | Oldest first


8/10/2015 9:04:27 AM, on The Land

Fran Murrell , there is no credible evidence of harm to health from GM crops even when they are a significant part of the diet let alone when they are there in traces - you and others just go on about these traces. Your approach is that the genomic alterations caused by GE can lead to unwanted sequelae. You must be aware that thousands of food plants are developed by mutagenesis breeding and this alters the genome more than the GE but you are unworried by that . Example: Rio Red grapefruit is a mutagenic.You say it is safe to eat although never safety checked . How can you justify that ?
catriona macmillan
12/10/2015 9:25:42 AM, on Farm Weekly

Steve, I and many other consumers appreciate your stand. We do not want GM in our food.
12/10/2015 2:50:08 PM, on Farm Weekly

This case regards negligence not GM in food. GM products deemed safe for consumption or for medicinal use (i.e insulin) are already in the food and drugs system globally. The anti GM bandwagon is not helping consumers or farmers, by making this about what they feel is right.
13/10/2015 11:31:18 AM, on The Land

Oliver, your reference to food plants like Rio Red grapefruit developed by mutagenesis (irradiation +chemicals ) is timely.The US National Academy of Science states that such mutagenesis causes more alteration to the genes than the GM technology and that food plants developed that way should be safety checked like GM plants - google "GM Microarray analyses reveal that plant mutagenesis may".That organic food and bodies like MADGE ignore this science and fail to consider the safety of Rio Red and other mutagenics shows they have another agenda . It is time they came clean.
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