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Suspended Canadian admiral brings in prominent lawyer to represent him

Prominent Toronto lawyer to represent admiral

TORONTO — A Canadian admiral mysteriously suspended last month responded Thursday by denying any wrongdoing, with his newly hired lawyer suggesting he’s the victim of a “bureaucratic crossfire.”

The Canadian military announced last month that Vice-Admiral Mark Norman was suspended from his job as vice-chief of defence staff, but has been tight-lipped as to why.

Norman’s lawyer Marie Henein issued a statement on Thursday that he “looks forward to being cleared.”

“It is our sincerest hope that an objective investigation is concluded quickly and that Vice-Admiral Norman returns to his post serving all Canadians,” the statement said.

Henein’s statement also stressed Norman’s public service record that spans more than three decades and said he has always served Canada “honourably.”

“It would be a profound disservice to us all if a national hero and widely respected Canadian who has served under numerous governments was caught in the bureaucratic crossfire,” said Henein.

The job of vice-chief of defence staff is the second-highest ranking job in the military and the opposition Conservatives said at the time that Canadians have the right to know the whole story behind Norman’s suspension.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the suspension was not over national security concerns, but it was a decision that had to be made.

Henein has been counsel on numerous high profile and controversial cases, most recently representing former CBC radio personality Jian Ghomeshi. 

She found herself immersed in controversy after Ghomeshi was acquitted of charges of sexual assault and choking. Some people criticized her aggressive cross-examination of the complainants in the case.

However, she also had many defenders including the then-editor of Canadian Lawyer magazine who said her critics lacked an understanding of the Canadian justice system and the role of defence lawyers.

 

The Canadian Press

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