Politics

Case dropped against Canadian bureaucrat accused of leaking secret documents

The Crown has dropped its case against a federal bureaucrat who was accused of leaking secret cabinet documents about a $700-million shipbuilding contract.

Crown prosecutor's case fell apart after prime witness testified he could not remember key detail

The Crown has dropped its case against Matthew Matchett, a federal public servant who was charged with one count of breach of trust for allegedly leaking secret cabinet documents about a contract between the federal government and Chantier Davie shipyard. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press)

The Crown has dropped its case against a federal bureaucrat who was accused of leaking secret cabinet documents about a $700-million shipbuilding contract.

Matthew Matchett walked out of an Ottawa courthouse a free man after Justice Hugh McLean informed the jury hearing the breach of trust case about the Crown's decision.

The surprise development came on the fourth day of what was expected to be a four-week trial.

Matchett was charged in 2019, accused of leaking documents related to a shipbuilding deal between Quebec shipyard Chantier Davie and the federal government.

The leak was alleged to have occurred in 2015, when the newly elected Liberal government decided to hold off finalizing a contract with Davie to lease a temporary supply ship for the navy.

The Crown's case fell apart after its prime witness, longtime lobbyist Brian Mersereau, testified that he could not remember if Matchett had provided him with a secret memo to cabinet.

Crown prosecutor Mark Covan's decision to stay the charge today comes more than three years after the Crown's case against vice-admiral Mark Norman was also dropped.

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