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Feds to let court decide on releasing cabinet secrets to Norman lawyers

OTTAWA — The federal government says it will let the courts decide whether to release thousands of pages of cabinet secrets to Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s lawyers.

Last month, Norman’s lawyers gave a judge a list of records they say are needed to ensure their client gets a fair trial on a breach-of-trust charge.

Most of the documents relate to a $700-million contract to refit a civilian vessel into a temporary support ship for the navy that was negotiated by the Harper Conservatives and finalized by the Trudeau Liberals.

Government officials have previously said that cabinet secrets can only be released with the approval of the prime minister under whom they were created.

But new documents filed in court this week show there is a second way — which the government plans to use — by leaving the decision to the judge.

Norman was suspended as the military’s second-in-command and charged this past March with one count of breach of trust for allegedly leaking cabinet secrets. He has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight the charge.

The Canadian Press