The Tribune has failed to make an abortion the cause of ex-employees of the MMA

News 11 January, 2018
  • Photo By Caroline Lepage
    The driver of the train that exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Tom Harding. The lawyer, Thomas Walsh, has called for the abortion of the trial of three months.

    Caroline Lepage

    Thursday, 11 January, 2018 01:00

    Thursday, 11 January, 2018 01:00

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    SHERBROOKE | An editorial published in the newspaper La Tribune has threatened to cancel the trial of three ex-employees of the MMA accused of criminal negligence causing the death of 47 people in Lac-Mégantic.

    On day 6 of the trial of Tom Harding, Richard Labrie and Jean Demaître accused of criminal negligence causing the death of 47 people, following the explosion of an oil train in Lac-Mégantic, an editorial by Denis Dufresne published in La Tribune, Sherbrooke has reported numerous items of evidence which had not been submitted to the jury and which were therefore under an order of non-publication.

    The author of the editorial said it was time that the truth be known the outcome of the trial, citing extracts from the report of the Office of the transportation safety board (TSB), which has never been filed in evidence.

    When a trial is held before a jury, it is forbidden for the media to reveal details that have not yet been put into evidence during the trial to not influence the jury, a rule that was not likely aware that the writer of the Capitals Media.

    The jury, composed of four women and eight men, was captured yesterday after the judge’s instructions.

    The media can reveal the information disclosed outside the jury, including the request of defense lawyers to abort the trial because of this editorial.

    Sentence murders

    The lawyers of Tom Harding, Jean Demaître and Richard Labrie challenged an excerpt from the report of the TSB that was reported by Denis Dufresne, according to which ” the employees were the minimum necessary to accomplish their work, rather than always follow the rules “.

    According to Me Thomas Walsh, the lawyer for Thomas Harding, this sentence was a judgment on the actions of his client and could have influenced the result of the jury trial.

    “The most appropriate remedy would be an abortion of the trial “, he pleaded.

    Otherwise, he suggested the two sides to peel the TSB report and isolate the elements which seemed to be acceptable, in order to re-evaluate their position.

    For his part, mr. Guy Poupart, who defends Richard Labrie, has requested the holding of a separate trial for the three defendants.

    This wish was shared by mr. Gaetan Bourassa, who found that the bottom of the editorial in full, was prejudicial to his client, Jean Demaître.

    One of the prosecutors for the Crown, Me Sacha Blais, emphasized that the editorial spoke of the ” three unfortunate defendants.”

    “Unlike my colleagues, rather, it is the prosecution who should complain about this article “, he raised.

    Harding suspended

    The judge Gaetan Dumas ruled that the abortion of the trial was not justified.

    “I know that the journalists here do care,” he said.

    He reminded them to not mention the TSB report, which was never filed in evidence, and urged them to seriously warn their newsroom to attention. The Tribune quickly removed the editorial from its website.

    In addition, the Crown has attempted during the trial to admit in evidence that the train driver and co-accused, Thomas Harding, had already been suspended in the past.

    Several witnesses told the trial that Mr. Harding was very competent and professional in his work. The Crown wanted to show that he didn’t have a record without stain before the derailment and explosion of July 6, 2013.

    The judge Dumas, however, did not permit this evidence to be presented before the members of the jury.

    Both of the accused asked to be acquitted during the trial

    The ex-director John Demaître and the ex-controller’s railway Richard Labrie were tempted to dismiss the weight of the charges on the conductor Tom Harding for the explosion of a train in Lac-Mégantic by asking, during the trial, to be acquitted for lack of evidence against them.

    Photo By Caroline Lepage

    John Demaître

    Photo By Caroline Lepage

    Richard Labrie

    As soon as the Crown had done to disclose its evidence in mid-December, the lawyers of Demaître and Labrie has filed a motion for a verdict directed acquittal judge Gaetan Dumas, who rejected it.

    “I am aware of the weakness of the evidence, but it is not for me to assess it,” said the judge while the jury was not in the room.

    For him, it is up to the jury to declare the accused guilty or not.

    According to the evidence presented at trial, Tom Harding applied an insufficient number of hand brakes to the oil train that exploded in Lac-Mégantic.

    There is no legal obligation

    According to the lawyers of Demaître and Labrie, the evidence was insufficient for the jury reasonably could support a finding of guilt in respect of their clients.

    The two prosecutors have pointed out that the regulation of the middle rail has been tightened after the tragedy, but that their clients had complied with their obligations required as of the date of 5 July 2013.

    The Crown blamed them for failing to ask if Tom Harding, had properly secured the train, on the evening of the derailment, while there was no legal obligation to do so. The Crown also alleges that the two accused have failed to send a qualified employee, in Nantes, after the fire of the chimney of the locomotive was declared.

    “This is that following the events that regulation in this field has been modified “, one can read in the petition of Richard Labrie.