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Assault charge against Former MLA Steve Norn dropped due to insufficient evidence

This story has been updated to include the response from the Public Prosecution Service of Canada office in Edmonton.
Former Tu Nedhe-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn’s assault charge was dropped by the Crown in Territorial Court on March 3. Photo courtesy of the Legislative Assembly

This story has been updated to include the response from the Public Prosecution Service of Canada office in Edmonton.

Steve Norn, the former MLA for Tu Nedhe-Willideh, had his assault charge dropped on Friday in Territorial Court.

Norn was accused of assaulting a ground crew worker after arriving at Yellowknife Airport on an Air Canada flight upon leaving the plane on Nov. 26, 2022.

The original charge was laid Jan. 9 and Norn made an initial appearance in court on Jan. 24.

On that day, Jay Bran, Norn’s lawyer, said that the alleged incident was “minor in nature” and confidently stated before Judge Robert J. Lane that the video evidence, once analyzed by the Crown, would be convincing enough for authorities to drop the charge.

Bran had not seen the video when he made that claim. They would appear in court on a later date to give the Crown time to view the evidence.

Jacqueline Halliburn, who represented the Crown, said on Friday that the office in Edmonton made the decision to drop the charge.

“It was on their instructions that we entered a stay of proceedings in court today,” she said. “No one in our office, including myself, has seen any of the evidence or disclosure with relation to this matter.”

Halliburn said that the office in Yellowknife had a conflict of interest in the matter, hence the involvement of the office in Edmonton.

Erin Eacott, deputy chief federal prosecutor at the office in Edmonton, explained why the Crown dropped the charge.

“(The charge was) stayed after PPSC (Public Prosecution Service of Canada) reviewed all of the evidence and determined that there was no longer sufficient evidence for a reasonable prospect of conviction,” she said.

When asked if the evidence included a video, she said that she could not comment.

“The evidence that isn’t on the public record, I can’t talk about what that evidence is,” she said.

Norn declined to comment on the matter, but Bran made a statement on his behalf.

“My client is relieved that the prosecution has ended and he is looking forward to continuing with his life now that this is behind him,” he said.