Chief exec previously convicted in shooting death
The chief executive officer of the Tasty Budd’s Compassion Club shot a man to death in a daycare parking lot in 1995.
The Registry of Joint Stocks lists Norman Arthur Lawrence as the CEO, director and recognized agent for Tasty Budd’s Compassion Club Inc.
Four homes and five storefronts of the medicinal marijuana chain were raided by police last Friday, resulting in 69 charges against nine individuals. Lawrence was charged with three counts each of trafficking a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of trafficking, along with possession of property obtained through the proceeds of crime, as a result of the raids.
While the RCMP declined to confirm whether this was the same Norman Lawrence who shot Michael Forsyth seven times on Aug. 21, 1995, a search of court records by SaltWire Network confirmed this fact.
At the 1998 trial in which he was charged with first-degree murder but convicted by a jury of the lesser charge of manslaughter, Lawrence claimed that he shot Forsyth in self-defence after seeing him reach for a gun in his belt.
The Crown’s version was that Forsyth was murdered after a day of escalated tension that began when Lawrence called Sherri Arsenault to arrange to spend the day with their young daughter and Forsyth hung up on him.
Lawrence shot Forsyth in the parking lot of a daycare off Greystone Drive in Halifax.
“In my view, this was not a matter about a child,” Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Felix Cacchione said in handing down a 10-year sentence. “It was a matter about (Lawrence’s) pride.”
Court records show Lawrence was on parole at the time of the killing. In 1994 he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years for aggravated assault for nearly killing Darren Smardon by beating him with a piece of wood.
A woman who answered the phone at the Tasty Budd’s office in Cole Harbour Monday refused to comment on Lawrence’s violent past. She said that the company’s president, Malachy McMeekin, was not available for comment.
When asked who the man was who could be heard in the background telling her to say “you have our statement,” she said, “First of all, that’s none of your damned business.”
Then she hung up.
A written statement issued by Tasty Budd’s on Monday and attributed to McMeekin apologizes for alleged illegal activities occurring at the company’s Lower Sackville store.
McMeekin was charged after last week’s raids with a series of gun offences related to unauthorized possession of a firearm, three counts each of possession of and trafficking of marijuana, and possession of property obtained by proceeds of crime.
Lawrence and McMeekin are both to be arraigned in Dartmouth provincial court Oct. 25.
Halifax District RCMP searched Tasty Budd’s in Cole Harbour again Tuesday and arrested four people. One was to appear in Dartmouth Court Wednesday morning.