OTTAWA — Vice-Admiral Mark Norman is retiring from the Canadian Forces after reaching a “mutually acceptable agreement” with the government, the Department of National Defence said Wednesday.
The surprise announcement comes more than a month after Crown prosecutors stayed their politically charged breach-of-trust case against the military’s former second-in-command.
Norman said at the time that he wanted to return to duty, a plan that was welcomed by defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance even as questions swirled over whether Norman would file a lawsuit against the government.
Instead, in a statement Wednesday, the Defence Department said that “after consulting with his family, his chain of command, and his counsel, Vice-Admiral Norman has decided to retire from the Canadian Armed Forces.”
Watch: MPs Unanimously Back Apology For Vice-Admiral Mark Norman. Story continues below.
The department also revealed that Norman’s lawyers had negotiated a “mutually acceptable agreement” with the government, “the details of which will remain confidential.”
The talks were overseen by former Ontario Court of Appeal chief justice Warren Winkler.
“Both parties believe that this resolution will return focus to the critical work of the Canadian Forces, which is the protection of all Canadians,” the department said.
“The government of Canada thanks Vice-Admiral Norman for his 38 years of dedicated service and wishes him well in all of his future endeavours.”
Norman was suspended from the military in January 2017 and later charged with breach of trust for allegedly leaking government secrets to put pressure on the government to approve a $700-million shipbuilding project.
The former navy commander, who was vice-chief of the defence staff when he was suspended, denied any wrongdoing while his lawyers accused the federal Liberal government of political interference in the case.
While the Liberals in turn denied the charge, the case nonetheless became a cause celebre for the federal Conservatives and many former military personnel rallied to Norman’s defence.
Following months of pre-trial hearings in which Norman’s lawyers fought for access to thousands of pages of secret government documents, the Crown stayed the case on May 8.
Prosecutors said at the time that new information uncovered by Norman’s legal team had left no reasonable prospect of a conviction.