Tragedy of Lac-Mégantic: MMA cared little for the safety, argues the lawyer of Harding

Photo: Ryan Remiorz Archives The canadian Press
The train conductor Thomas Harding, at the courthouse of Sherbrooke

The lawyer for Thomas Harding pleaded, Tuesday, that the rail company Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) was not shining by a desire hungering for the security.


In its final argument, at the courthouse of Sherbrooke, Charles Shearson argued that its customer, the train conductor Thomas Harding, could not be held to perfection, while his employer, the MMA, did not even the scrupulous respect of all the standards in force.


The lawyer also reminded the jurors that Mr. Harding was alone when he parked for the night the convoy tanker 73 cars in Nantes, a few hours before the deadly derailment in Lac-Mégantic. Gold, pleaded Me Shearson, the federal government, in the wake of this tragedy, has banned convoys of hazardous materials are conducted by a single crew member in Canada. It is not for nothing, pleaded Tuesday to the lawyer of the head of the train.


Once parked for the night at Nantes, on a gentle slope, the train filled with crude oil is slowly shaken, and then picked up speed before derailing and exploding in the heart of Lac-Megantic. The tragedy has made 47 people in this small town in the eastern Townships, July 6, 2013. The fire, which raged for several days, devastated part of the city centre.


The train conductor Thomas Harding, the controller of railway Richard Labrie, and the chief operating officer of MMA in Quebec, Jean Demaître, all three have pleaded not guilty to a charge of criminal negligence causing death.


On Monday, Mr Shearson had pleaded that the actions taken by the head of the train were perhaps not perfect, but they had been nevertheless reasonable. The lawyer also argued that to recognize Mr. Harding guilty of criminal negligence, the jury should conclude that the head of the train, which had departed significantly from the rules, and that he had demonstrated a total disregard for the life and safety of others.


The judge Gaetan Dumas, of the superior Court, shall transmit its instructions to the jury on Wednesday. The Crown prosecutors and the lawyers of MESSRS. Labrie and Demaître had presented their final arguments last week.