Prosecutors expected to drop case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman

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Prosecutors expected to drop case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman


OTTAWA—Prosecutors are expected to abandon their high-profile criminal case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman on Wednesday, a stunning turn in a case that had been set to go to trial just weeks before the fall election got underway.

What was originally slated to be a routine pre-trial appearance is now expected to be the end of the drawn-out criminal proceeding against Norman, who is facing a single breach of trust charge for allegedly leaking confidential details of a cabinet discussion about a supply ship contract.

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman arrives to court in Ottawa on March 28. A decision to drop the charge comes just days after the revelation that Liberal MP Andrew Leslie, himself a retired lieutenant-general and former commander of the Canadian Army, was prepared to testify on Norman’s behalf.
Vice-Admiral Mark Norman arrives to court in Ottawa on March 28. A decision to drop the charge comes just days after the revelation that Liberal MP Andrew Leslie, himself a retired lieutenant-general and former commander of the Canadian Army, was prepared to testify on Norman’s behalf.  (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

“They are pretty close to capitulation and dropping the charge,” a source told the Star Tuesday night.

Several factors are said to be behind the decision. These include frustration by Justice Heather Perkins-McVey over the pace of disclosures by the crown of sensitive government emails and other documents sought by the defence.

There were growing doubts about the strength of the prosecution’s case, the source said.

And the decision to drop the charge comes just days after the revelation that Liberal MP Andrew Leslie, himself a retired lieutenant-general and former commander of the Canadian Army, was prepared to testify on Norman’s behalf.

Read more:

Liberal MP Andrew Leslie offers to testify against Trudeau government in upcoming criminal trial

Naval officer’s trial could haunt Liberals in fall election campaign

Mark Norman’s lawyers say government secrecy is blocking defence

From the start, Norman, through lawyer Marie Henein, has maintained his innocence.

Opposition MPs have charged that Norman was being made the fall guy by the Liberals for an embarrassing political leak. Reaction to the news that the charge was being withdrawn — first reported by the National Post — spurred quick reaction on social media.

“Very good news for an honourable military officer dragged into court by a dishonourable Liberal government,” Conservative MP Erin O’Toole, himself a lawyer and military veteran, said on Twitter.

The stunning reversal is expected to spark tough questions for the top officials in government and the military around the decision to pursue the criminal case against the veteran naval officer and his removal from his senior post so early in the investigation, more than a year before the charge was even laid.

For Norman, who has been in limbo since he was removed as second-in-command of Canada’s military in January, 2017, the question is whether he can even resume his career.





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