Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, who was charged with a single count of breach of trust for allegedly leaking cabinet secrets about the government’s $700M shipbuilding deal, was the No. 2 in command in the Canadian Forces until his temporary suspension in January of 2017. It wasn’t until March of 2018 that he was charged by the RCMP. Now more than a year later, the charges against VAdm Norman have been dropped.

The charge alleged that Norman leaked the secret information to a former CBC journalist and a Quebec shipbuilding firm.

One of the prosecution’s biggest hurdles was in proving what are called the “essential elements” of the offence, in particular that Norman had the intent of using his office “for a purpose other than the public good.” The prosecution said Norman’s actions were inappropriate and secretive, but that doesn’t mean a crime was committed.

“Inappropriate does not mean criminal,” said Barbara Mercier, the lead prosecutor.

His lawyers, including Toronto lawyer Marie Henein, have always maintained that “Vice-Admiral Norman is not the right person standing trial”

The entire court appearance lasted just minutes, with Judge Heather Perkins-McVey ending proceedings saying that Norman was free to go, years after the entire affair began.

Here is the press release from the public prosecution service about dropping the charge against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. “No other factors were considered in this decision,” says the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

General Jonathan Vance, the Chief of the Defence Staff, made the following statement:

“On Wednesday, 8 May, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada stayed the proceedings against Vice-Admiral Mark 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, andthe 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….

“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.”