The defendants served two new expert witness statements, from Fiona Watson of Survival International, and from the agronomist Professor Susanna Hecht. These dealt with the effects of cattle ranching on rainforest countries - both in damaging the environment and in causing the displacement of small farmers and indigenous peoples.
This application was resisted strenuously by Richard Rampton QC, representing McDonald's, and the judge is presently deliberating on the dispute.
During his evidence Mr Cesca said he had seen lists of the ranches that supplied beef for McDonald's in Brazil, Costa Rica and Guatamala. The defendants then asked for copies of these lists. Mr Rampton objected, he complained that as McDonald's had provided statements from company witnesses that none of the beef was from areas of recently deforested rainforest, he didn't think that McDonald's should have to go to the trouble and expense of providing copies of the lists. The defendants said that the lists were evidence in their own right and that they would pay for the phone calls, faxing and copying charges if that was a problem for McDonald's.
Helen Steel pointed out that McDonald's should have complied with their obligation to give discovery of such documents three years ago, stating "if they have got nothing to hide, they could have disclosed all these documents..... when the order for discovery was first made... I do not think McDonald's should get away with not making discovery now just because they have spun it out for so long and denied that there were any documents in existence, when clearly there were".
During the course of arguments about these lists it was suggested that the defendants could contact Mr Morganti, the managing director of Braslo Ltd - McDonald's sole hamburger supplier in Brazil. When Mr Morganti was contacted during the evening he denied having the lists, and said he had given them to McDonald's lawyers.
Mr Cesca gave evidence that he had drafted McDonald's rainforest policy statement along with Shelby Yastrow, General Counsel for McDonald's Corporation (the most senior lawyer employed by the company). He said the policy had taken 4-6 weeks to write in 1989, although he claimed it had existed 'verbally' since the company opened its first store in 1955. He said that "'recently deforested rainforest' means since we decided to open a restaurant in a specific country" and agreed with Mr Rampton that "in theory, some rainforest might be cut down a year or six months before [McDonald's] made that decision, cattle put on it, and [McDonald's] could, in theory, take cattle from that land". (N.B. Previously the company has defined 'recently deforested' as "a significant number of years", "within 10 years"(prior to 1989) and "within 25 years" (since 1989).
Giving evidence about Costa Rica, Mr Cesca said "McDonalds opened the first of its restaurants in Costa Rica in December 1970" and that they had been supplied with meat by Co-ope Montecillos since that time. "This meat comes from ranches in areas which were deforested in the 1950's and early 1960's".
Under cross examination, Mr Cesca revealed that Braslo, McDonald's beef supplier in Brazil, was in fact a joint venture between Mr Morganti and two huge meat supply multinationals based in Germany and the US - Fleischwaren and OSI respectively (who together are known as Lutz & Otto, or L & O). They in turn, according to Mr Cesca, controlled a Brazilian beef export company called Glenmark. Mr Morganti is managing director of both Braslo and Glenmark.
The defendants have expressed an interest in obtaining any further information about these companies.
Mr Cesca said that Braslo supplies only McDonald's, but he confirmed that in addition to McDonald's in Brazil, Brazlo had exported beef to McDonald's in Argentina, Uruguay and Switzerland.
The official transcript of each day, which is produced by a private company at McDonald's request, is available to the defendants at a cheaper rate of £25 after a three week delay - to give a 'legal advantage' to McDonald's.
However, Mr Rampton demanded that the defendants give an undertaking not to disclose any of the contents of the transcript to the press. Dave Morris replied "I will give an undertaking that I will use anything that is said in open court to tell anybody anywhere in the world who is interested to find out what is happening in this public court".
The defendants were left with no alternative but to buy the vital transcript at its full price - £375 plus tax.
Controversy over the transcripts last year had led to an unsuccessful application to the Court of Appeal by the defendants. The McLibel Support Campaign has launched a public appeal to help the defendants pay for their legal costs.