Leaks at the Davie | Lawsuit against federal official dropped

Leaks at the Davie | Lawsuit against federal official dropped

(OTTAWA) The Crown has dropped its lawsuit against a federal official who was accused of leaking secret cabinet documents relating to a $700 million shipbuilding contract at Davie.

Matthew Matchett, who was charged with breach of trust, walked out of the Ottawa courthouse a free man on Thursday morning after Judge Hugh McLean briefed the jury on the Crown’s decision.

This surprise turnaround came on the fourth day of what was expected to be a four-week trial.

The Crown’s case collapsed when its main witness, veteran lobbyist Brian Mersereau, testified at trial that he could not recall whether Mr Matchett had provided him with a secret memo to the Cabinet.

Crown Attorney Mark Covan’s decision to stay the charge comes more than three years after a Crown prosecution against Vice Admiral Mark Norman was dropped in the same case.

The two men were accused of leaking information about the new Liberal government’s decision in late November 2015 to delay approval of a Navy contract to lease a civilian container ship converted by the Lévis shipyard.

This contract, which had been practically tied up by the previous Conservative government, was finally approved later by the Liberals, newly elected in October 2015.