Politics

Vice-Admiral Norman's lawyers still waiting on documents linked to Trudeau, senior staff

The judge in the breach of trust case against the military’s former second-in-command has started releasing documents to the defence and Crown in preparation for trial this summer — but Vice Admiral Mark Norman’s lawyer has yet to see emails and text messages from the prime minister and his senior staff.

Judge starts releasing documents to defence, but PMO document search expected to take longer

Left: Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. Right: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Adrian Wyld, Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The judge in the breach of trust case against the military's former second-in-command has started releasing documents to the defence and Crown in preparation for trial this summer — but Vice Admiral Mark Norman's lawyer has yet to see emails and text messages from the prime minister and his senior staff.

Earlier this month, lawyer Marie Henein threatened to ask the court to subpoena Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's former principal secretary, Gerald Butts, and Clerk of the Privy Council Michael Wernick to testify in Norman's trial if they don't produce all documents relevant to the defence.

Judge Heather Perkins-McVey is reviewing the documents provided to the court to date to make sure they are relevant to the case.

Department of Justice lawyer Robert MacKinnon told the court Monday that all of the documents requested by the defence have been located and that searches were conducted of the personal email accounts of senior officials in the Prime Minister's Office, the Privy Council Office and the Department of National Defence.

Norman is accused of leaking cabinet secrets. His defence team has alleged political interference in his case; Norman's lawyers have claimed the Privy Council Office was directing the prosecution — possibly at the behest of the Prime Minister's Office.

The emails and notes the defence wants to see could be key to making that argument.

Henein also took issue Monday with tweets and public statements made by the Department of Justice following Norman's last court appearance on March 6.

In light of the SNC Lavalin scandal, Henein said at that time she wanted to see any communications between the Privy Council and former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould about her client's case. She noted that she had been requesting those communications since October.

On Twitter, the Justice Department fired back that night with a statement characterizing Henein's request as a new one. Henein replied by calling the department's description of her request "inaccurate."

She added the department also should not be commenting on "why the pace of this litigation is going at the rate that it is."

MacKinnon told the court Monday that the collection of Wilson-Raybould's emails and texts is "ongoing" and that they will be available for the judge to review "within the next two weeks."

The case of a second person charged in connection with the alleged leak of cabinet secrets, federal procurement official Matthew Matchett, will be back in court on Tuesday.

Both Matchett and Norman stand accused of leaking information related to a $668 million shipbuilding deal that was discussed in secret by a federal cabinet committee on Nov. 19, 2015.

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