FIle photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Two RCMP officers involved with the Mark Norman probe emphasized the importance of independence in their work, even as opposition MPs continued to accuse the Trudeau government of orchestrating the investigation.

RCMP wants to see evidence that led to demise of Mark Norman case

OTTAWA — RCMP investigators say they’re not sure why the Mark Norman case collapsed because they haven’t seen the new evidence that led to the stay of a breach-of-trust charge against the naval officer.

The Mounties also suggested that former Conservative ministers — a possible source of the fresh evidence given to defence counsel — could have come to the RCMP with the information at any time.

In an interview Tuesday with The Canadian Press, two RCMP officers involved with the Norman probe emphasized the importance of independence in their work, even as opposition MPs continued to accuse the Trudeau government of orchestrating the investigation.

“We follow the evidence and we seek the truth,” said Supt. Mike MacLean, criminal operations officer for the RCMP’s national division.

Norman, a vice-admiral who served as the military’s second-in-command, was charged with breach of trust in 2018 following a two-year criminal investigation into the alleged disclosure of classified government information.

The case revolved around a November 2015 decision by the newly elected Liberal government to reconsider a $700-million contract the Harper Conservatives awarded to Quebec-based Davie Shipbuilding.

Davie was hired to convert a civilian vessel, the MV Asterix, into a temporary resupply ship that would be leased until a permanent replacement was ready.

While the plan to revisit the contract was supposed to remain secret, court documents showed the RCMP suspected Norman of being upset with the decision over concerns the government would cancel the project.

Norman was commander of the navy at the time and, according to the documents, allegedly worked with Davie to pressure the government to keep the project afloat.

In staying the charge last week, prosecutor Barbara Mercier said the Crown believes some of Norman’s actions, including his communications, were inappropriate.

However, the ultimate conclusion — that those actions did not cross the threshold of criminality — were informed by fresh material she had received from the defence.

It’s up to the federal prosecution service to decide whether to share the information with the RCMP, MacLean said.

“Unfortunately, we have not seen that evidence yet,” he said. “We’d like to get the totality of the information and do a proper analysis.”

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