Two separate investigations are underway into whether individuals in the military deliberately tried to hide records about the case of Vice Adm. Mark Norman.
Global News has confirmed earlier reports by CBC News that outlined two probes launched by both the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) and the military police into an allegation made in court last month by a military member.
That member, whose name is covered by a publication ban, alleged a superior said the military had been avoiding using Norman’s name in internal correspondence. If true, that would mean any material related to Norman but not using his name would effectively be invisible to officials processing access to information requests.
“We are concerned by the allegations and welcome the OIC’s investigation,” said Daniel Lebouthillier, spokesperson for the Department of National Defence.
“We have contacted the OIC and agreed to work together and provide any information required to conduct the investigation. The OIC understands DND is investigating and appreciates that we are taking this seriously.”
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The second investigation, Lebouthillier said, involves the military police.
“Also, we requested an NIS [National Investigation Service] investigation into the allegations made by a witness who testified as part of the Vice Adm. Norman proceedings in order to determine whether an individual(s) acted in contravention of the Access to Information Act,” Lebouthillier said.
“This is an ongoing investigation. As such, no timelines or other details are available.”
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News of the probes comes as Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance is set to appear in court Tuesday as part of ongoing pre-trial hearings in the Norman case.
Norman was relieved of his duties as second-in-command of the military in early 2017.
Norman is charged with breach of trust for allegedly leaking cabinet secrets — specifically, that the new cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in November 2015 was looking at ways to pause a sole-sourced deal to get the navy an interim supply ship after both of its remaining ships had to be retired.
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Marie Henein, the criminal defence lawyer representing Norman, claims her client is being scapegoated in a case that is politically motivated and that saw Trudeau weigh in several times prior to charges being laid.
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