OTTAWA — Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s lawyers are trying to use testimony from the country’s top bureaucrat during the SNC-Lavalin affair to gain access to secret government documents about their client.
During a pre-trial hearing today, Norman’s lawyers told a court that testimony Michael Wernick, the outgoing clerk of the Privy Council, gave to a parliamentary committee earlier this year opens the door for them to see the documents.
Wernick told the Commons’ justice committee in February that he made the decision not to block the release of secret cabinet documents requested by Norman’s lawyers, and instead let the courts decide what should be released because it was “the easiest way.”
Norman’s legal team says Wernick’s comment amount to a waiver of solicitor-client privilege that the government has used as a reason to not reveal a variety of other documents related to the case.
They believe those documents will prove Norman’s case has been tainted by political interference and boost their efforts to get the breach-of-trust charge against him tossed out.
Norman served as the military’s second-in-command before being suspended and charged for allegedly leaking government secrets about a $700-million shipbuilding contract. He denies any wrongdoing.
The Canadian Press