VAdm. Mark Norman can now return to his duties with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) after the government stayed proceedings against the former Vice Chief of the Defence Staff.
On Wed. May 8, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada announced its decisions to stay the proceedings because of the Crown’s weakening case against Norman.
“This stay eliminates the conditions that caused me to relieve Vice-Admiral Norman from his military duties in January of 2017– in accordance with the Queen’s Regulations and Orders section 101.09.
“As we know, the RCMP conducted and completed its investigation, charges were laid, and the proceedings have now been stayed. In this new context, the Queen’s Regulations and Orders specifically state: “[t]he authority who relieves an officer or non-commissioned member from the performance of military duty shall order that the member return to duty when the circumstances giving rise to the decision to relieve the member from the performance of military duty are no longer present….” said Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance.
VAdm. Mark Norman was suspended from his military duty in 2017 because he was accused of leaking classified government information. He was accused, by the government, of tipping off Davie Shipbuilding that the federal government considered delaying a naval project that involved the firm converting commercial ship to a naval supply ship.
CBC News reporter, James Cudmore 2015 story of the leaked details launched a two-year investigation by the RCMP that ended in a raid of Norman’s house in Jan. 2017.
The nature of the raid and the allegations against Norman were kept quiet for a lengthy period and the only news that was revealed in Jan. 2017 was that Norman was being relieved of his duties as VCDS.
It wasn’t until a year later that he was charged with breach-of-trust and accused of leaking the classified cabinet information to both Davie and Cudmore.
Norman plead not guilty and has stated that he has always acted with integrity and in the “best interest of the RCN, CAF, and people of Canada.”
The last two years have been fraught with trials for Norman, and the case has been surrounded by controversy. Last year, Norman was denied financial assistance from the government for his case. Because of his lack of sufficient funds, several people from the military community banded together to start a GoFund Me page to raise money for Norman’s legal troubles.
Additionally, the government has been accused of political interference. Allegations state that the Privy Council Office has been attempting to direct the prosecution. These allegations have been denied both by the Attorney General and Justice Minister David Lametti.
The case was supposed to go to court this August, but reports say the Crown’s case began to crumble in March after new evidence was presented that cast doubt on the criminality of Norman’s actions. Although details have not been revealed as of yet, the protection has said that Norman’s actions were inappropriate but not criminal.
With the stay of proceedings and matter put to bed, Norman is now free to return to the military.
“In that context, Vice-Admiral Norman and I will be discussing his return to regular duty at the earliest opportunity.
“This decision ends court proceedings that have been a long and difficult process for Vice-Admiral Norman, his family and for the Canadian Armed Forces.
“We have missed Vice-Admiral Norman a great deal and I look forward to welcoming him back to work as soon as possible,” said the CDS in his statement.