Chief exec pre­vi­ously con­victed in shoot­ing death

Truro Daily News - - NEWS - AARON BESWICK & STEVE BRUCE

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.

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