Crown drops breach-of-trust case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman

Crown prosecutors have dropped a controversial breach-of-trust charge against Canadian Forces Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, abruptly ending a politically explosive case that was to play out during this fall's federal election campaign.

Prosecutors were in court this morning in Ottawa to withdraw the charge against Norman, which the RCMP laid last year following a two-year investigation.

The charge hinged on allegations that Norman leaked government secrets to a Quebec shipyard and a journalist to influence decision-making at the federal cabinet table over a shipbuilding contract worth nearly $700 million.

The contract, negotiated by the Conservative government under Stephen Harper and finalized in 2015 by Justin Trudeau's newly elected Liberals, called for the temporary retrofitting of an existing vessel into a desperately needed supply ship for the navy.

Norman, who was suspended as the military's second-in-command in January 2017 because of the RCMP investigation, has long maintained he did nothing wrong.

His lawyers have argued the case against Norman was politically motivated, fighting for months during pre-trial hearings for access to various government documents to prove it.