Last instructions before deliberations

News 10 January, 2018
  • Audré Kieffer | QMI Agency

    Jean-François Desbiens

    Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:35

    Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:37

    Look at this article

    The trial of the three ex-employees of the MMA, the judge Gaetan Dumas is currently giving his last instructions to the jurors before they begin their deliberations.

    Thomas Harding, the engineer of the locomotive, Richard Labrie, traffic controller railway and Jean Demaître, former chief operating officer of the MMA, are accused of criminal negligence causing the death of 47 people in July 2013 in Lac-Mégantic following the derailment of a train loaded with oil at the center of the city.

    The trial started on October 2 last. The prosecution has heard 31 witnesses.

    The defendants have not testified nor presented a defense.

    To be convicted of criminal negligence:

    -The accused has done or has not done something that was imposed by a law.

    -The acts of the accused demonstrate a reckless dissolute or reckless (in other words, excessive or dangerous) in the face of life or the safety of others.

    -The actions have caused injury, or resulted in the death of one or more persons.

    To find out if the actions of the accused showed such heedlessness, it is necessary to compare his conduct with that of a reasonably prudent person in the same circumstances. In short, is what a prudent person would have foreseen the consequences of this conduct ?

    According to the theory of the prosecution, Thomas Harding at the time to stop the convoy of more than six million litres of crude oil at the top of the slope in Nantes shook an insufficient number of hand brakes. It relied on air brakes independent on the locomotives to hold the train. The train driver of more than thirty years of experience has not conducted a test of the effectiveness of selected in accordance with the rules in force at the time of securing his train.

    After the fire in the lead locomotive, which affected the proper functioning of the air brakes, he failed to inform his superiors of the risks of runaway of the train. The prosecution accuses him also of not to be returned to Nantes in order to secure the train, knowing the potential danger.

    In the place of Richard Labrie, who spoke on the phone with Harding, and John Demaître who had been informed of the fire at the edge of the 5017, the prosecution argues that as the controller railway and director of the MMA, they would have had to ask Harding about the way in which the train had been secure, if he had applied enough hand brakes. They were accused also of not having sent to qualified employee to Nantes to do a follow up and to ensure that the situation was under control. Rather than asking the engineer of the locomotive, they asked Jean-Noël Busque, responsible for the railway to go to the place.