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VAdm Norman - Supply Ship contract: Legal fight

FSTO

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“The Crown’s case fell apart after its prime witness, longtime lobbyist Brian Mersereau, testified that he could not remember if Matchett had provided him with a secret memo to cabinet.”

Appears to be one of those fun instances where a witness says something in the course of interviews and investigation, and then something different once they’re on the stand. It would be prudent to look at the collapse of the Norman and Matchett prosecutions as distinct from each other, with different events underlying.
It just seems that the whole sorry affair was based on pretty thin evidence right from the start. Then the way it was handled by the Crown lawyers, PMO, and the Executive suite at 101 would make even Groucho Marx gasp at the ineptitude.
 

KevinB

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It just seems that the whole sorry affair was based on pretty thin evidence right from the start. Then the way it was handled by the Crown lawyers, PMO, and the Executive suite at 101 would make even Groucho Marx gasp at the ineptitude.
I am no longer current with how much a Crown can be influenced politically - here as DA's are elected, you can usually be sure that they don't care what someone says to them, but what is good for re-election with the public...

It seems to be a rather ridiculous fishing expedition from the outside looking up at y'all ;)
 

FSTO

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I am no longer current with how much a Crown can be influenced politically - here as DA's are elected, you can usually be sure that they don't care what someone says to them, but what is good for re-election with the public...

It seems to be a rather ridiculous fishing expedition from the outside looking up at y'all ;)
Well we had a justice minister who was fired because she wouldn't listen to the direction from the PMO. So there's that.

My initial stance when this first blew up was that the Liberals were flushed with victory, wanted to stick it to everything the Harperites did, and Brisson was in the back pocket of Irvings. When their dumb ass decision came to light (I thank the person who did the right thing) I really think that Trudeau had a hissy fit that some Public Servant (whom he thought he had in his back pocket) betrayed him. So the PMO was out for blood and figured Norman was an easy target. He was involved in the original contract with Davie, he was high rank, would be able to retire quietly with a hefty pension to boot, and the PMO's desire for revenge would be sated. Much to their surprise the Admiral said F you, my reputation is rather important to me, and I'm going to hire a lawyer that'll make your clowns look like articling students fresh out of Brandon University Law School. The rest is history and a couple of folks walked away with an enhanced bank account and a PMO with egg on their face (which they quickly wiped away because they are Liberals and nothing sticks to them). In the end nobody but a few in the RCN really gives a shit.
 

FSTO

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Just to clarify, Brandon University has no faculty of law and if it did, why would you assume it would be low rate?

Asking for my friends in Brandon.

😁
Being a graduate of the "Number 1 University in Western Manitoba" I can toss shade at that illustrious institution. They let me graduate! LOL!
But that was my point, Henin so ran rings around the Crown attorneys that they did seem that they had no idea what they were doing.

I also said Brandon because I knew you'd have a chuckle.
 
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FJAG

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Being a graduate of the "Number 1 University in Western Manitoba" I can toss shade at that illustrious institution. They let me graduate! LOL!
But that was my point, Henin so rang rings around the Crown attorneys that they did seem that they had no idea what they were doing.

I also said Brandon because I knew you'd have a chuckle.
😁 I only went there for some pre-law extension courses (Politics and Propaganda in the Cinema with Skinner) but did my law at UofM.

BU did have a really good basketball team there in the mid Eighties when I got there and Jerry Hemmings was coaching. That was my regular form of live sports entertainment during the winter months.

🍻
 

FSTO

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😁 I only went there for some pre-law extension courses (Politics and Propaganda in the Cinema with Skinner) but did my law at UofM.

BU did have a really good basketball team there in the mid Eighties when I got there and Jerry Hemmings was coaching. That was my regular form of live sports entertainment during the winter months.

🍻
I was there from 85 to 88. Yep we had quite a bunch of ringers from the Carolina's that Hemmings brought up. I spent most of my time chasing skirts in the English department, talking history with the profs, and chasing more skirts at the Unwinder. Good times!
 

FJAG

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I was there from 85 to 88. Yep we had quite a bunch of ringers from the Carolina's that Hemmings brought up. I spent most of my time chasing skirts in the English department, talking history with the profs, and chasing more skirts at the Unwinder. Good times!
Made me think of my first Bobcat game and seeing Joey Vickery on the court. Said to myself, what's a 5'10" white kid from Winnipeg doing playing point guard? Then I watched him sink eight three-pointers.

Anyway. To get back to the trial. The problem is that crown attorneys are generally your middle of the road folks with a few stars and a large bunch of time-clock-punchers. Defence attorneys on the other hand are more stratified into those that go at it with high skill and a passion and earn the big bucks and a herd of guys who chase around remand courts doing the scutt work that keeps the system moving. High profile case like these bring out the defence stars and it shows.

🍻
 

FSTO

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Made me think of my first Bobcat game and seeing Joey Vickery on the court. Said to myself, what's a 5'10" white kid from Winnipeg doing playing point guard? Then I watched him sink eight three-pointers.

Anyway. To get back to the trial. The problem is that crown attorneys are generally your middle of the road folks with a few stars and a large bunch of time-clock-punchers. Defence attorneys on the other hand are more stratified into those that go at it with high skill and a passion and earn the big bucks and a herd of guys who chase around remand courts doing the scutt work that keeps the system moving. High profile case like these bring out the defence stars and it shows.

🍻
Makes sense.
So in your learned opinion, did the crown really have a case against the Admiral from the evidence that was released to the public? And when did you think they should have just dropped it or should of Henin forced it to go to court to really embarrass the crown?
 

Halifax Tar

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Well we had a justice minister who was fired because she wouldn't listen to the direction from the PMO. So there's that.

My initial stance when this first blew up was that the Liberals were flushed with victory, wanted to stick it to everything the Harperites did, and Brisson was in the back pocket of Irvings. When their dumb ass decision came to light (I thank the person who did the right thing) I really think that Trudeau had a hissy fit that some Public Servant (whom he thought he had in his back pocket) betrayed him. So the PMO was out for blood and figured Norman was an easy target. He was involved in the original contract with Davie, he was high rank, would be able to retire quietly with a hefty pension to boot, and the PMO's desire for revenge would be sated. Much to their surprise the Admiral said F you, my reputation is rather important to me, and I'm going to hire a lawyer that'll make your clowns look like articling students fresh out of Brandon University Law School. The rest is history and a couple of folks walked away with an enhanced bank account and a PMO with egg on their face (which they quickly wiped away because they are Liberals and nothing sticks to them). In the end nobody but a few in the RCN really gives a shit.

Absolutely. Partisan politics to the T.

It would be nice to see some red and blue folks reach across the aile find some common ground to grow on.
 

FJAG

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Makes sense.
So in your learned opinion, did the crown really have a case against the Admiral from the evidence that was released to the public? And when did you think they should have just dropped it or should of Henin forced it to go to court to really embarrass the crown?
Not a clue. Based on the evidence given yesterday (as reported) I said to myself "why was this guy a prosecution witness?" he didn't implicate anyone and it didn't strike me that he was laying a base for evidence to come. But you never know with newspaper articles. They frequently do not see the subtleties of the evidence.

That said though, based on today's actions, it seems that the crown was expecting more from Mersereau than he gave. I would have liked to have been in the court to see the crown's facial expressions as the evidence came out.

My guess, and only a guess, is that he may have changed the slant of his evidence from that given during the investigation or the crown was expecting (hoping) that he'd spill more once under oath. There did seem to be some email messages between them that, while not conclusive, were suggestive.

Usually with a crown's standard of proceeding when there is a "substantial likelihood of conviction", you'd expect that the evidence would be nailed down more positively than this one was. I would be reluctant to say that there was direct PMO pressure but there very well could have been a self-imposed pressure to move on with a weak case especially after Norman's collapsed.

🍻
 

brihard

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And when did you think they should have just dropped it or should of Henin forced it to go to court to really embarrass the crown?
Just for a bit of insight, Crown can pretty much always withdraw charges or stay the proceedings if they choose. If that’s done there really isn’t a way for defense to force the matter to continue through airing of the charges.

An individual who is charged and later has matters end without a conviction can of course sue if they want. Doesn’t mean they’ll win or necessarily that the matter will see to a trial. Usual in civil proceedings, the respondent (which would be crown in such a case) can prevent the matter going to trial in court with facts laid bare, so long as they’re willing to agree to a reasonable settlement.

Whether criminal or civil, if the crown ultimately decides it no longer wants to fight the matter in court, it can be very hard to impossible to force the spectacle of a public trial.

Usually when a matter is already in trial and then criminal charges are stayed, that indicates that there is some material change that causes crown to assess that there is no longer a reasonable prospect of conviction. It could be the introduction of new evidence by defence that introduces reasonable doubt. It can be a key witness completely shitting the bed and collapsing crown’s case. There could be a Charter application that results in some key piece of evidence being excluded from consideration.

Trial is about the crown’s ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused Did The Thing. My experience has almost always been that it’s going to be something that defeats a key piece of evidence, or the value of a key witness collapsing, without which the case cannot be proven. Seldom is it new evidence that actually changes the understanding of the facts to one where the accused is actually likely to be factually innocent of the thing they’re accused of. It does happen but it’s rare.

Criminal law is extremely procedural, and with good reason- any of us could be accused of an offence, and that due process protects us. But it can mean a prosecution falls apart at potentially any point. It sucks when that happens.
 

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Lest this post get overlooked, I wanted to reinforce the important of what suffolkowner added here. These five things, each individually, are the 'essential elements' of the offense of Breach of Trust by a public officer. He quoted them directly from R. v. Boulanger, a 2006 Supreme Court of Canada case that outlines exactly what the offense of 'breach of trust' is.

In criminal law, the 'essential elements' of an offense are the things that must all be individually proven for a conviction to be found. This post has as succinctly as possible offered us a summary of what the crown has to prove- the five boxes it needs to tick in the prosecution.

I won't be weighing in with an opinion on the case, but I didn't want those less familiar with criminal law to miss the really helpful bit that suffolkowner added here.
does the crown not have to prove
The accused is an official; yes

The accused was acting in connection with the duties of his or her office; yes
The accused breached the standard of responsibility and conduct demanded of him or her by the nature of the office; maybe
The conduct of the accused represented a serious and marked departure from the standards expected of an individual in the accused’s position of public trust; and maybe
The accused acted with the intention to use his or her public office for a purpose other than the public good, for example, for a dishonest, partial, corrupt, or oppressive purpose. no?

I dont think they ever had the evidence to charge Admiral Norman IMO. These high profile cases just bring to light the ethical workings of the Crown in Canada
I have a relative who was improperly charged and spent a month in custody. His charges were dropped and he was released without even an apology. Equal treatment for all should be the norm.
They happen at all levels but unfortunately many people do not have the resources to fight
Made me think of my first Bobcat game and seeing Joey Vickery on the court. Said to myself, what's a 5'10" white kid from Winnipeg doing playing point guard? Then I watched him sink eight three-pointers.

Anyway. To get back to the trial. The problem is that crown attorneys are generally your middle of the road folks with a few stars and a large bunch of time-clock-punchers. Defence attorneys on the other hand are more stratified into those that go at it with high skill and a passion and earn the big bucks and a herd of guys who chase around remand courts doing the scutt work that keeps the system moving. High profile case like these bring out the defence stars and it shows.

🍻
Yes it appears that crown attorneys often work under the same conditions/assumptions that public defenders do in an American legal drama

I guess I am just naive to expect better

With respect to the idea of political interference, I'm just not sure the Crown seems capable of screwing these things up all by themselves. Is there a paper trail? Was there one when Duffy was charged?
 

Good2Golf

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With respect to the idea of political interference, I'm just not sure the Crown seems capable of screwing these things up all by themselves. Is there a paper trail? Was there one when Duffy was charged?
By “paper trail” do you mean the CBC reporter who did an investigation into the origins of the arrangement, then who stopped being a reporter after becoming a political staff member policy advisor to the Minister of National Defence, but who was never implicated by the very government that hired him as an Exempt PS employee in the service of the Minister?
 

FSTO

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With respect to the idea of political interference, I'm just not sure the Crown seems capable of screwing these things up all by themselves. Is there a paper trail? Was there one when Duffy was charged?
Funny how the Duffy affair was in play in the subsequent election (I forget how much) but the Norman affair absolutely disappeared.
 

suffolkowner

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My understanding the Duffy situation was that it was mostly a matter of the senate’s own rules being so poorly laid out that they proved unenforceable in criminal court.
The way I remember it the judge wrote a treatise on how Nigel Wright was the one that whould have been charged


On July 17, 2014 Duffy was charged by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with 31 offences.[19] Duffy was acquitted of all charges on April 21, 2016. Ontario Court Justice Charles Vaillancourt ruled: "Mr. Neubauer (the Crown prosecutor) stated that Senator Duffy’s actions were driven by deceit, manipulations and carried out in a clandestine manner representing a serious and marked standard expected of a person in Senator Duffy’s position of trust. I find that if one were to substitute the PMO, Nigel Wright and others for Senator Duffy in the aforementioned sentence that you would have a more accurate statement." The judge ruled Duffy had no choice but to list his Prince Edward Island home as his principal residence, as he had been appointed a senator from that province and was constitutionally required to be resident there. Duffy's "free will" had been "overwhelmed" and he had "capitulated" as a result of the PMO's -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office, that is, -- "threatening efforts," the judge said. The Superior Court judge said Duffy had been pressured by senior members of the Prime Minister's staff to admit to improper expense accounts when they were, in fact, legitimate, adding "the real deceit came from Harper's office."[20][21] Robert Fife, now the Globe and Mail's Ottawa bureau chief, won an award for his reporting on the so-called "Senate scandal." On the day Sen. Duffy was acquitted, Fife claimed he had been repeatedly misled by the Harper PMO. He went on to declare the scandal was a "manipulative hoax" by Nigel Wright foisted on the Canadian public. "From the beginning when I broke that story on the $90,000. The Prime Minister’s Office every step of the way lied to me, they lied to Canadians. And inch by inch we were able to scale back and find out one lie after another, one lie after another. And then in the summertime when Nigel Wright and the other key lieutenants in the Prime Minister’s Office were put on the stand, we saw just how this manipulative hoax was put on the Canadian public."[22] Duffy immediately resumed his seat in the Senate and sat as an independent until his retirement.
 

brihard

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The way I remember it the judge wrote a treatise on how Nigel Wright was the one that whould have been charged


On July 17, 2014 Duffy was charged by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with 31 offences.[19] Duffy was acquitted of all charges on April 21, 2016. Ontario Court Justice Charles Vaillancourt ruled: "Mr. Neubauer (the Crown prosecutor) stated that Senator Duffy’s actions were driven by deceit, manipulations and carried out in a clandestine manner representing a serious and marked standard expected of a person in Senator Duffy’s position of trust. I find that if one were to substitute the PMO, Nigel Wright and others for Senator Duffy in the aforementioned sentence that you would have a more accurate statement." The judge ruled Duffy had no choice but to list his Prince Edward Island home as his principal residence, as he had been appointed a senator from that province and was constitutionally required to be resident there. Duffy's "free will" had been "overwhelmed" and he had "capitulated" as a result of the PMO's -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office, that is, -- "threatening efforts," the judge said. The Superior Court judge said Duffy had been pressured by senior members of the Prime Minister's staff to admit to improper expense accounts when they were, in fact, legitimate, adding "the real deceit came from Harper's office."[20][21] Robert Fife, now the Globe and Mail's Ottawa bureau chief, won an award for his reporting on the so-called "Senate scandal." On the day Sen. Duffy was acquitted, Fife claimed he had been repeatedly misled by the Harper PMO. He went on to declare the scandal was a "manipulative hoax" by Nigel Wright foisted on the Canadian public. "From the beginning when I broke that story on the $90,000. The Prime Minister’s Office every step of the way lied to me, they lied to Canadians. And inch by inch we were able to scale back and find out one lie after another, one lie after another. And then in the summertime when Nigel Wright and the other key lieutenants in the Prime Minister’s Office were put on the stand, we saw just how this manipulative hoax was put on the Canadian public."[22] Duffy immediately resumed his seat in the Senate and sat as an independent until his retirement.
Your recollection is better than mine. I never looked into that one in any real detail, thanks.

I will say that I don’t envy the investigators who get stuck with these very politically loaded and sensitive files.
 

FSTO

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Your recollection is better than mine. I never looked into that one in any real detail, thanks.

I will say that I don’t envy the investigators who get stuck with these very politically loaded and sensitive files.
I can just imagine getting phone calls from the PMO Chief of Staff and trying very hard not tell said office to GTFO.
 

brihard

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I can just imagine getting phone calls from the PMO Chief of Staff and trying very hard not tell said office to GTFO.
That’s definitely in the realm of the imaginary. That would be utterly hamfisted obstruction, and would be politically self destructive. Any call from anyone to an investigator is gonna be written about in a notebook and likely discussed at an investigative team meeting with minutes taken. That would not stay secret. I was more referring to the absolute media circus after charges are laid and through trial, or the matter otherwise becomes public.
 
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