Lac-Mégantic: at the turn of the defence to present its arguments

Photo: Jacques Boissinot Archives The canadian Press
July 6, 2013, 72 rail cars filled with oil déraillaient and exploded in Lac-Mégantic, killing 47 people and laying waste to this small town in the eastern Townships.

The criminal trial bearing on the tragedy train in Lac-Mégantic, the oral argument of two of the three defendants will be held on Thursday, at the courthouse of Sherbrooke.


The lawyers of the controller Richard Labrie and chief operating officer of the rail company Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MMA) in Quebec, Jean Demaître, will try to convince the jury to acquit.


On Friday, it will be the turn of the train conductor Thomas Harding to make their arguments.


These arguments are welcome, because none of the three accused has not testified or called witnesses at the bar : this will be the time to better understand their defenses.


The charges against the three former employees of the MMA have been reported after a train of 72 cars carrying crude oil, left unattended, rolled down to the bottom of the slope where it had been parked. He has derailed and exploded, killing 47 people and razing part of the downtown of this small town in the eastern Townships, July 6, 2013.


The justice Gaétan Dumas of the superior Court presides over the trial since October 2.


The three former employees of the MMA are accused of criminal negligence.


On Wednesday, the trial was suspended since mid-December has returned with the Crown, presented by Sacha Blais.


The latter argues that Thomas Harding has been proof of criminal negligence by applying only seven hand brakes instead of the 14 required and failing to do tests on these brakes, to ensure that their number was sufficient to hold the train in place.


He has also argued that MESSRS. Labrie and Demaître have been negligent in not asking any question to check if the convoy had been brought to a stop safely after a fire was sparked in the lead locomotive.