The jury has cost more than $ 300,000 to the trial of the ex-employees of the MMA

News 2 February, 2018
  • Daniel Mallard/JOURNAL DE QUEBEC

    Caroline Lepage

    Friday, 2 February 2018 17:33

    Friday, 2 February 2018 17:33

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    SHERBROOKE | The jurors at the trial of the three ex-employees of the MMA paid a total of 47 charges of criminal negligence following the tragedy of Mégantic have cost more than $ 300,000 to taxpayers.

    The request for access to information the Newspaper has learned that the 14 jurors have cost 310 984 $ to the taxpayers at the trial of Tom Harding, Richard Labrie and Jean Demaître, all of which were paid on January 19, after a nine-day deliberation. The trial started on 2 October at the palais de Justice de Sherbrooke.

    The daily allowances granted to the jury during these four months amounted to 211 989, 76 $. According to the law on jurors, each member receives 103 $ per day and $ 160 as of the 57th day. An allowance for child care or dependents can also be granted.

    As the trial was bilingual, the services of two translators, who have a total of 35 698, 42 $, are the second most important expenditure.

    In addition, an amount of 26, 829, 84 $ has been spent to feed the jury.

    Hotel at $ 250 per day

    Before being sequestered, the January 10, 2018, two jurors have been eliminated at random. Therefore, 12 of them deliberated for nine days before returning their unanimous verdict of acquittal for the three defendants.

    During the deliberations, when the jurors were cut off from the outside world, the ministry of Justice has paid 26 746, $ 20 for accommodation of the members of the jury in a hotel. This amount represents nearly $ 250 per juror per day.

    During this period, the jurors had a secure transportation during their travel to get to the hotel, at the palace of justice, etc, at a cost of 9569, 81 $.

    Not the choice of the accused

    For Me Charles Shearson, the lawyer for Thomas Harding, it is of significant sums, which nonetheless remain in the standards of a trial of four months, with thirty witnesses.

    “This was not our choice to go with a jury trial,” he argued.

    According to him, the three accused would have preferred to have a separate trial before a single judge, but the prosecution decided otherwise.

    “It has generated a lot of human resources for this process-there”, writes Me Gaetan Bourassa, the lawyer of Jean Demaître.

    He recalled that four Crown prosecutors, a technician and two investigators from the Sûreté du Québec were mobilized, virtually full-time.

    It was impossible to know the cost of the public employees involved in this process, since the department of Justice does not record the wages by folder.