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Green Party leader gets it wrong again


Green Party leader gets it wrong again

The Co-leader of the Green Party, Jeanette Fitzsimons, should check her facts before she issues media statements about the outcome of a case involving a key green lobby witness to the Royal Commission, Canadian adventurer and farmer, Percy Schmeiser, the Chairman of the NZ Life Sciences Network, Dr William Rolleston, said today.

The Canadian Federal Court has issued a Reasons for Judgement, which sets out why the Judge in the case believes Percy Schmeiser has breached Monsanto’s patent rights.

“Ms Fitzsimons and her staff don’t appear to have read the actual decision of the Federal Court in Canada which is available on the Internet. If she had, Ms Fitzsimons may have been spared the embarrassment of once again having to make a correction.

“The figure of $80,000 which Ms Fitzsimons quotes is nowhere to be found in the Judge’s decision. The Judge has found Monsanto is entitled to any profits Schmeiser made from his illegal use of their patented canola but has left it to the parties to sort out what those profits are, if any. The only figure actually specified is $15,450 for general damages. How Ms Fitzsimons advisors got to their figure amounts to speculation.

“Far from ruling that in individual is liable when someone else contaminates seeds, as stated by Ms Fitzsimons, the Judge has found that Schmeiser a.. Knew the canola seeds he allegedly gathered were Roundup tolerant b.. Knew seeds of this type were patented by Monsanto and that he should have paid a licence fee for them c.. Knew he was in breach of the patent when he unlawfully used the seeds and tried to gain some benefit from them.

“The decision does not show that farmers cannot save their own seeds. They can, provided they don’t try to save seeds patented by a company having protection under patent law.

“This is a very clear decision, which identifies who the real culprits are. There’s no point in trying to make Schmeiser out as the injured party. He wasn’t. He got caught trying to make a profit from someone else’s property.

“Are the Green Party saying it’s alright for farmers to knowingly take someone’s property and use it for their own ends. In some cases that would be called theft.

“This is a further embarrassment for the Greens. Schmeiser is yet another of their witnesses before the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification whose credibility has been shattered by subsequent events,” concluded Dr Rolleston.

Note for Editors

The decision of the Federal Court is available at:

http://www.fct-cf.gc.ca/bulletins/whatsnew/T1593-98.pdf

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