Steve Norn, the MLA for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of failing to follow pandemic public health orders.
In territorial court on Tuesday, as first reported by NNSL, Norn’s lawyer – Jay Bran – entered pleas of not guilty on his behalf.
Norn was given two summary offence tickets by Covid-19 enforcement officials on June 7. He was charged under the territory’s Public Health Act for allegedly breaking self-isolation after returning from travel outside the territory in April.
The allegations against him have not been proven in court.
A prosecutor from Vancouver has been hired to handle the public health case against Norn due to conflicts of interest among NWT lawyers. Duty counsel had previously stated Norn planned to hire a lawyer from Edmonton, but he is now being represented by an NWT-based defence lawyer.
The case has been adjourned until August 24, when it is expected a date will be set for trial.
Norn is facing a separate inquiry into a complaint that he may have breached the code of conduct for NWT MLAs. His fellow MLAs’ complaint alleges Norn failed to self-isolate for 14 days after returning from Alberta and accuses him of “misleading the public regarding his compliance with the self-isolation order.”
Retired judge Ronald Barclay has been appointed as the sole adjudicator of that inquiry. He will determine whether a hearing will be conducted privately or publicly and will submit findings to Speaker of the House Frederick Blake Jr. Barclay can either dismiss the complaint against Norn or recommend disciplinary action ranging from a fine to having the MLA’s seat declared vacant.
During the inquiry, Norn will have the opportunity to submit evidence and make submissions about whether he breached the code of conduct.