Several senior government officials at the center of the criminal proceedings against Vice Admiral Mark Norman have not searched their personal email and correspondence phones that are relevant to the case, despite the instructions on court summonses.
Zita Astravas, head of the HQ Defense Staff Harjit Sajjan, is being called on Thursday to testify at a pre-trial hearing in the case of a violation of trust against Norman.
She said that the advice she received from the National Defense Attorney was to require her to only communicate with her BlackBerry phone.
Norman's defense team, led by Toronto lawyer Marie Henein, is fighting in court for discovering thousands of federal government documents – and has accused the federal government of conducting a selective and random search for those documents.
In a testimony on Wednesday, Chief of Defense Staff, Jonathan Vance, admitted that he had not searched his personal email or his iPhone for anything that could be related to the case. General Vance insisted he was not doing any job-related work on his nongovernmental devices.
Earlier this week, attorneys from the federal Cabinet of Scotland Brisbane cabinet handed the court a personal message relevant to the case, separate from his government accounts.
Norman, a former commander of the Navy, was charged with one count of a breach of trust and was charged with leaking government secrets in connection with a $ 668 million contract for the hiring of ships to supply the Navy. He was suspended as a military commander in January 2017.
Astravas was director of the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office between November 2015 and August 2017 – the time period when the criminal investigation into Norman became public. She would be a public official in charge of informing the prime minister of important issues and daily crises.
Astravas testified that she did not know if her former email account was searched in response to a court order issued by Norman's lawyer.
Robert MacKinnon, the federal lawyer responsible for the search of the file, told the court that the instruction given to all departments that all devices must be searched. He said the instructions would be repeated.
The pre-trial discussion mainly focuses on the collection and production of communications relevant to the subject. The trial is scheduled for August, just months before the federal election.
Henein asked Astravas if they were familiar with any communication within the government about the timing of the case.
"Do you remember that you had any communication about the delay of this trial or the timing of this trial?" she asked.
"I do not remember," Astravas answered.
On Tuesday, the defense team compiled a list of words used in the documentation to invite Norman through the Access to Information. Among them are Kracken, MN3, C34 and The Boss.
Vance said that the army routinely used jargon, abbreviations, and pseudonyms and did not see anything in the list he thought could be called a "code name."
The list submitted to the Defense Defense through the request for access did not include any of the terms used in the Sajjani's Office, which requested the minister's waiver of that request.
Astravas said after receiving a court summons to appear in court at the end of Wednesday, she asked her staff to "try" to check if other pseudonyms were used for Norman. She said that they did not get additional conditions.
Henein asked if Astravas knew of the terms "a certain naval officer", "a particular marine fellow" or "navy colleague," but Astravas said he could not remember.
Norman's defense team was involved in legal battles with government attorneys for publishing documents deemed relevant for the case.
Henein described the situation as "quite extraordinary", with the government claiming that the government had confidence in certain documents and that the defense had provided subpoenas to obtain those documents.
Crown lawyer Barbara Mercier suggested that the defense was trying to extend the process of "the kingdom came."
"I have a very strong feeling that this was a very big fishing expedition," she said.