Australian organic farmer applies to take GMO contamination case to High Court

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A West Australian organic farmer whose property was contaminated with GM canola is taking his legal fight to the High Court.

Steve Marsh lost organic certification over most of his land at Kojonup after genetically modified canola blew over from his neighbour’s farm in 2010.

Mr Marsh lost his case against neighbour Michael Baxter in the Supreme Court last year.

And last month, the Court of Appeal again ruled in favour of Baxter.

But that was a two-to-one decision, with court president Carmel McLure finding in favour of Mr Marsh.

Justice McLure found the interference with the appellants’ use and enjoyment of their property was both substantial and unreasonable and constituted a private nuisance.

She said Baxter “had actual knowledge of the risk of decertification when he engaged in the conduct which caused the harm to the appellants”.

But Justice David Newnes and Justice Graeme Murphy decided in favour of Baxter.

They said Mr Marsh’s choice of farming operations did not mean Baxter’s lawful use of his own land “constituted a wrongful interference with the appellants’ use or enjoyment of their land”.

Marsh is seeking special leave to appeal in the High Court.

The application is based on issues relating to the law of negligence as applied by the Court of Appeal in his case.

It can be decided on the papers filed to the court, or after a hearing.

The appeal will only be heard if the application is successful.

Read full, original post: Organic farmer Steve Marsh to take GM contamination battle to High Court

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