Vice-Admiral Mark Norman's lawyer threatens to call Butts, Wernick to stand

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman's lawyer is threatening to call Gerald Butts and Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick to testify in open court if they don't produce a series of documents that she says are essential to defend her client.

Lawyer Marie Henein issued the ultimatum during a brief pre-trial hearing this morning even as Butts, who recently resigned as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's top aide, was testifying before a House of Commons committee on the SNC-Lavalin affair.

Henein told the court that she has been fighting since October for internal communications inside the Prime Minister's Office and the Privy Council Office, which included issuing subpoenas for Trudeau's, Butts's and Wernick's records last month.

Government lawyer Derek Rasmussen responded by saying the requested emails, BlackBerry messages and other documents were ready for Justice Heather Perkins-McVey to review before deciding whether they should be released to Norman's legal team.

Yet Henein nonetheless said she has yet to see a single document and unless they are produced by March 18, she plans to issue subpoenas for Butts, Wernick and other senior officials to take the stand and explain why not.

Norman, who previously served as the military's second-in-command, was charged last year with breach of trust for allegedly leaking government secrets to help a Quebec shipyard with a $700-million naval contract.