Revelation comes two weeks after the Court of Appeal in Western Australia ordered farmer Michael Baxter to reveal information about his trial costs
EXCERPT: In a statement Monsanto Australia managing director Daniel Kruithoff said the company “contributed to the Baxter’s legal costs to ensure they could defend themselves in court”.
Monsanto contributed to the legal defence of WA farmer sued by his organic farmer neighbour
The Weekly Times, April 8, 2015
MONSANTO contributed to the legal defence of a Western Australian farmer who was sued by his organic neighbour for growing genetically modified canola.
The revelation comes two weeks after the full bench of the Court of Appeal in Western Australia ordered Kojonup farmer Michael Baxter to reveal information about his trial costs.
This is part court of proceedings where organic farmer Steve Marsh was appealing his attempt to sue neighbour Mr Baxter for contamination from Roundup Ready canola.
Mr Marsh lost his bid to sue neighbour Mr Baxter for $85,000 in damages last year, after claiming he lost more than 50 per cent of his organic certification after Roundup Ready canola from Mr Baxter’s property blew onto his farm.
The WA Supreme Court last year ruled against Mr Marsh and ordered him to pay $800,000 in court costs.
As part of the appeals process, the court ordered Mr Baxter to reveal information about his trial costs, specifically any financial arrangements between him and Monsanto and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association, of which he is a member.
Monsanto today revealed it did provide assistance towards Mr Baxter’s legal defence, but refused to reveal how much money it provided.
Monsanto owns the Roundup Ready gene, which is used to breed GM canola varieties.
In a statement Monsanto Australia managing director Daniel Kruithoff said the company “contributed to the Baxter’s legal costs to ensure they could defend themselves in court”.
“It was only fair that the Baxters received much-needed support given the extensive fundraising efforts of Steve Marsh’s supporters,” he said.
Monsanto Australia spokesman Adam Bligh said the indemnity agreement the company signed with Mr Baxter, which strictly limited its support to contributing to their legal costs [sic]
“We will be tabling the indemnity agreement, but specific funding will depend on the outcome of the (court) case,” he said.
The deadline given by the court to Mr Baxter’s legal team to disclose the financial arrangements between Monsanto and the PGA is today.
Mr Baxter’s lawyer, Brian Bradley, previously denied the PGA had provided any payments to Mr Baxter.
A judgment on the appeal against the original ruling is expected to take six months.