Canada: Mark Norman says he has 'a story to tell' - but can he tell it? - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaMark Norman says he has 'a story to tell' - but can he tell it?

15:15  16 may  2019
15:15  16 may  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Mark Norman breach of trust charge expected to be dropped

Mark Norman breach of trust charge expected to be dropped Mark Norman was second-in-command of the Canadian military until early 2017, when he was relieved of his duties and later charged with breach of trust for allegedly leaking classified info.

Mark Norman says he has 'a story to tell' - but can he tell it?© Provided by Canadian Press Enterprises Inc A file photo of Mark Norman.

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman says he wants to tell his story — but as long as he's still in uniform, his remarks will have to be careful and measured since he is (as experts point out) still governed by military regulations.

And those rules — the Queen's Regulations and Orders — specifically prohibit serving members from criticizing their superiors and government policy in public.

A narrow exception would be made if the former second-in-command of the military is called to testify before a Parliamentary committee, said retired colonel Michel Drapeau, a military law expert.

Five lingering questions from the end of Mark Norman's criminal case

Five lingering questions from the end of Mark Norman's criminal case OTTAWA — Now that public prosecutors have decided to stay a breach-of-trust charge against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, here are five questions Canadians don't have full answers to: 1) What was the evidence that got Norman's charge stayed? The Public Prosecution Service of Canada said it received information in late March from Norman's legal team that, upon review with the evidence the RCMP provided, led them to believe there was no reasonable prospect of conviction in the case.

"The rules are crystal clear," said Drapeau. "They go on for pages as to what you cannot do and what you cannot publish."

Norman, the former commander of the navy, was charged with a single count of breach of trust after being accused of leaking cabinet secrets. While he's told journalists that he still has an "important story to tell" about the experience, he has not spoken publicly, nor given any interviews, since the day the Crown dropped the case against him.

He has said he wants to return to duty and the country's top military commander said Wednesday he will be welcomed back "soon."

Retirement or silence?

National Defence was asked Wednesday whether Norman had been granted permission to speak and under what conditions.

Norman has permission to do interviews "in his official capacity on matters related to his job and within his personal areas of expertise" as a member of the military, a department spokesman said.

GoFundMe campaign for Vice-Admiral Mark Norman will remain active for now

GoFundMe campaign for Vice-Admiral Mark Norman will remain active for now Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan told reporters on Wednesday that the government would cover Norman’s legal fees, did not provide an exact amount. “Once we get all the information, then we’ll have a much better answer for that,” he said. Hammond said he spoke to Norman by phone on Thursday about the GoFundMe campaign. “We feel like it would be premature to shut down the account down just yet,” he said. “We have to proceed with caution here.” “The one thing to remember is that these charges were stayed. They weren’t withdrawn.

"He is a highly experienced and successful officer who has served with distinction and commanded at all levels in the Canadian Armed Forces and we have no doubt that he will continue to be an outstanding spokesperson on behalf of the institution," said Dan Le Bouthillier.

Retired lieutenant-colonel Rory Fowler, a former military lawyer now in private practice, said Norman would be able to speak freely if he retired completely from the military. Otherwise, he said, Norman would face the prospect of punishment.

"He runs the risk of being prosecuted under the code of service discipline" if he crosses certain lines and levels specific criticism, he said — particularly if that criticism is aimed at other government agencies, such as the public prosecution service.

Norman would, however, be able to speak more freely in front of Parliament — and that makes Thursday's decision on whether to hold House of Commons committee hearings even more important, said Conservative defence critic James Bezan.

Conservatives, NDP call for emergency committee meeting on Mark Norman case

Conservatives, NDP call for emergency committee meeting on Mark Norman case The opposition parties are forcing an emergency meeting of the national defence committee to investigate the government's conduct in the Mark Norman trial.

The defence committee will debate a motion by the Conservatives and NDP to hold hearings on the investigation that led to Norman's prosecution.

'Miscarriage of justice'

Bezan said the committee is likely the only near-term opportunity to get at the truth of why the vice-admiral was prosecuted in the first place, how the case against him collapsed so swiftly, and whether there was political interference.

"The only venue where he can come in and speak his truth, just like Jody Wilson-Raybould in the SNC Lavalin scandal, is to do it before a Parliamentary committee," he said.

It will be the Liberal members of the defence committee who decide whether to hold those hearings, Bezan said

"If they deny him this opportunity to speak his truth, deny him this opportunity to explain how this has impacted him and his family, it will be another miscarriage of justice," he said. "Canadians and Parliamentarians need to know what happened."

There might be another roadblock in the way of Norman telling what he knows to Parliament, however. As with the SNC-Lavalin scandal, much of Norman's case turned on matters of cabinet confidence and cabinet secrets.

Canada's chief of defence summoned to cabinet meeting in wake of Norman case

Canada's chief of defence summoned to cabinet meeting in wake of Norman case OTTAWA — Canada's top general and the deputy minister of national defence are briefing the federal cabinet this morning a week after the criminal case against the military's former second-in-command fell apart. Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of the defence staff, and deputy minister Jody Thomas would not stop to discuss the matter on their way into the weekly cabinet meeting this morning. Vice-Admiral Mark Norman was suspended in January 2017

Former justice minister Wilson-Raybould needed a waiver from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau before she could testify earlier this year before another Commons committee.

Bezan said he doubts a waiver would be needed for Norman because the committee could simply choose to question him on matters that are already part of the public record.

One way around the cabinet secrets obstacle, said Fowler, would be for the committee to take some portion of his testimony behind closed doors.

"There might be some restriction on [his testimony] if he's asked questions of a security nature," said Fowler.

Drapeau said he finds it hard to believe the Liberal members of the committee will allow Norman — or anyone else — to testify because it would only continue the "hemorrhaging of bad news."

Read more

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman had talks with Gen. Vance about returning to work.
Vice-Admiral Mark Norman and his boss, Gen. Jonathan Vance, have held amicable, but so far inconclusive, talks about the former vice chief of the defence staff returning to work. A spokesperson for the Department of National Defence has confirmed that the two held a meeting on the holiday Monday of this week. Dan Le Bouthillier described the discussion as "cordial" with more to take place. "As discussions are ongoing, further information will be made available in due course," he said in a statement.

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