Stay Of Proceedings in R. v. Norman Prosecution

Ottawa – May 8, 2019 – Today in the Ontario Court of Justice, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada stayed proceedings against Vice Admiral Mark Norman after it was determined that there was no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction.

In March, 2018, Mr. Norman was charged with one count of breach of trust contrary to s. 122 of the Criminal Code for allegedly leaking confidential information regarding the contract for an interim Auxiliary Replenishment ship with the Canadian shipbuilding company Chantier Davie.

In this case, as in every case prosecuted by the PPSC, only two factors were considered: whether there was reasonable prospect of conviction and, if so, whether it was in the public interest to proceed with the charge. It was the conclusion of the PPSC that both criteria were met when the charge was laid. After reviewing further evidence provided to the prosecution, some from applications for records that were not part of the investigation file (third party records) and some volunteered by the defence, the PPSC is no longer of the view that a reasonable prospect of conviction exists. In particular, the Crown has concluded that it will not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Norman’s conduct in this case amounted to a serious and marked departure from the standards expected of a person in his position of trust.

This decision was based on the evidence, the law, and the principles regarding reasonable prospect of conviction, which are set out in the PPSC Deskbook:

“No other factors were considered in this decision” said Kathleen Roussel, Director of Public Prosecutions “nor was there any contact or influence from outside the PPSC, including political influence in either the initial decision to prosecute Mr. Norman or in the decision to stay the charge today.”

The principle of prosecutorial independence is key to the PPSC’s mandate. PPSC prosecutors are expected to be objective, independent, and dispassionate in the exercise of their duties, and to exercise those duties in a manner free from any improper influence, including political influence.

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