No defense of the accused of the MMA

News 12 December, 2017
  • Photo courtesy Sûreté du Québec

    Caroline Lepage

    Tuesday, December 12, 2017 17:18

    Tuesday, December 12, 2017 17:18

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    SHERBROOKE | The three ex-employees of the MMA accused in connection with the explosion of a train in Lac-Mégantic, which has 47 people will have no defense at their trial.

    The train driver Tom Harding, the controller of railway Richard Labrie, and the director of the office of Farnham, John Demaître, all three accused of 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death, does not testify to, therefore not, as is their right.

    The three defendants worked at the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MMA) when their oil train exploded in Lac-Mégantic on July 6, 2013.

    The Crown complains mainly to Tom Harding have applied an insufficient number of hand brakes.

    As to Richard Labrie, who managed the movement of trains on the night of the tragedy, and John Demaître, they would have had to ensure, according to the Crown, that the train was properly secured when it was stopped in Nantes before it rolls without a driver up to Lac-Mégantic.

    Strong time

    One of the highlights of the trial has been listening to phone calls of Richard Labrie the night before and the night of the tragedy, which has allowed them to feel the reactions of the accused when they learn that their train had sprayed the town centre of Lac-Mégantic.

    They put almost 90 minutes to understand what had just happened.

    As all the telephone conversations of the controllers rail of the MMA are automatically saved on a server of the company, the Sûreté du Québec seized the calls made in the days preceding the disaster.

    No defense

    The decision not to present a defence was taken after the four Crown prosecutors had completed the disclosure of their evidence, presented at the palais de justice de Sherbrooke since 2 October last year.

    Not less than 36 witnesses have been interviewed, or employees of the middle rail, police, firefighter, taxi driver, etc, only One specialist on rail safety, Stephen Callaghan, was declared an expert witness during the trial.


    The trial of the ex-employees of the MMA will be hard during the Holidays to avoid that jury members would be sequestered to a few days of Christmas. The judge wants the jury may be free to take his time before rendering a verdict.

    The members of the jury are summoned on January 3, to hear the pleadings of the different parties. They will then receive the instructions of the judge Gaetan Dumas, presiding over the trial, and will be sequestered time to agree on the verdict of the three defendants.