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Mark Norman lawyers protest 'strategy' talks between Crown, federal lawyers

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman arrives at the courthouse in Ottawa, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. Norman's legal team is pointing to several discussions between the Crown and top government lawyers about "trial strategy" as proof of political interference.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s legal team is pointing to several discussions between the Crown and top government lawyers about “trial strategy” as proof of political interference in his case.

Notes taken by the Crown about those talks with lawyers from the Privy Council Office, the department that supports the prime minister, were filed in court this morning as pre-trial hearings resumed on Norman’s breach-of-trust charge.

Many of the notes were redacted on the basis they dealt with “trial strategy,” Crown prosecutor Barbara Mercier told Norman’s lawyers in an email also filed in court.

Norman’s lawyer, Christine Mainville, told the court that the Crown should not be talking strategy with the Privy Council Office, which she described as the right hand to the Prime Minister’s Office.

She says the discussions are more troubling than the allegations that the Prime Minister’s Office tried to intervene in the criminal case against SNC-Lavalin.

Crown prosecutors did not immediately respond, but asked Justice Heather Perkins-McVey for time to study the documents.

Norman was suspended as the military’s second-in-command in January 2017 and charged last March with one count of breach of trust for allegedly leaking government secrets to a Quebec shipyard.

He has denied any wrongdoing and his politically charged trial is scheduled to start in August.

The Canadian Press

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