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Mark Norman was doing his job, helping government in ship deal talks: lawyers

Vice Admiral Mark Norman arrives to the Ottawa Courthouse in Ottawa on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — Vice-Admiral Mark Norman’s lawyers are arguing in court this morning that they need access to numerous government secrets to prove there was more going on around a $700-million shipbuilding contract than has been revealed.

The suspended military officer’s legal team says members of the Stephen Harper government were also talking to the Quebec shipbuilding company at the centre of the three-year-old deal.

Norman’s lawyers argue the former vice chief of the defence staff was fulfilling his duty and responsibility as a military officer and civil servant by supporting Harper and others in his government who ardently pushed for the deal.

The Crown alleges Norman abused his authority and went rogue in a bid to undermine the government’s decision-making process to favour the contract.

Norman’s lawyers say he was trying to push back against other civil servants who were acting inappropriately and trying to thwart the government’s will.

The arguments are being made on the second day of a pre-trial hearing after Norman was charged this past March with one count of breach of trust.

Norman has denied any wrongdoing.

The Canadian Press