Steve Norn, MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh, stood before a judge on Tuesday morning and asked for his charges under the Public Health Act be adjourned so he can confirm his legal representation.
Norn, a former Crown witness coordinator and RCMP constable, said he still had not received disclosure from the prosecution.
“Thank you, your honour, and good morning, by the way,” Norn said when asked to speak by the judge. “So, I will be retaining a lawyer.”
The rest of what he briefly said was difficult to hear through the blue medical mask still required indoors in the territory’s court system.
Norn was appearing during the busy weekly docket court, held inside the largest convention room at Yellowknife’s Explorer Hotel. The MLA will return to court on August 3 regarding two alleged violations of the territory’s Covid-19 isolation rules.
After his appearance, Norn left the room and briskly walked down the hotel’s entranceway hill toward downtown Yellowknife.
While Norn’s case has already appeared before the courts, the MLA himself had not until Tuesday.
Norn did not appear at an initial court date in mid-June, instead asking duty counsel to request an adjournment on his behalf. The court heard Norn planned to hire a lawyer from Edmonton to represent him on the charges, while a lawyer from Vancouver would handle the prosecution’s case against Norn due to conflicts of interest among NWT lawyers.
In late April, Cabin Radio reported Norn had entered the Legislative Assembly building in Yellowknife on April 17, a full day before his self-reported isolation period was due to expire. Norn previously publicly stated he had tested positive for Covid-19 and said he had isolated at home as instructed from April 4 to 18.
In May, Norn reportedly admitted to the CBC he had broken isolation. The charges against him have not been proven in court.
The NWT’s integrity commissioner last month recommended a sole adjudicator, retired Justice Ronald Barclay, examine MLAs’ complaint that their colleague breached the NWT politicians’ code of conduct.
Barclay will be able to either dismiss the complaint or, if he finds Norn breached the code, recommend disciplinary action ranging from a fine to a suspension or declaration that Norn’s seat is vacated.
Norn was removed as chair of the legislature’s committee on accountability and oversight following a vote among other regular MLAs. The MLA also did not attend a recent week-long sitting of the assembly.