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Trial set to start for federal public servant charged in shipbuilding leak case

The trial of a federal public servant accused of leaking cabinet secrets about a shipbuilding project is set to begin this morning.

Matthew Matchett was charged with one count of breach of trust in February 2019 for allegedly leaking secret cabinet documents about a contract between the federal government and Chantier Davie shipyard in Quebec in November 2015.

That’s when the new Liberal government decided to hold off finalizing a contract with Davie to lease a temporary supply ship for the navy, a deal they later approved.

Matchett was suspended from his job in the federal procurement department in 2018. His lawyer has previously said his client intends to plead not guilty, and his trial by judge and jury is expected to run for several weeks.

In 2017, retired vice-admiral Mark Norman was suspended as the military’s second-in-command and later charged with breach of trust in 2018 over allegations he leaked cabinet secrets about the shipbuilding project.

Norman pleaded not guilty and Crown prosecutors eventually stayed the charge in May 2019, saying that new evidence they’d received from Norman’s defence team had led them to conclude there was no reasonable chance of a conviction.

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