Jury se­lec­tion process be­gins at trial for Lac Me­gan­tic ac­cused

Sherbrooke Record - - LOCAL NEWS -

poses chal­lenges.

“Lac-me­gan­tic is close to (Sher­brooke) so you may have peo­ple who are re­lated to vic­tims,” he said.

“It's also im­por­tant the can­di­dates have a good (un­der­stand­ing) of English and French be­cause the trial will take up terms that are com­pli­cated and tech­ni­cal to the rail­way in­dus­try. That's why jury se­lec­tion is tak­ing three weeks.”

The trial is ex­pected to last un­til De­cem­ber.

Some peo­ple asked Mon­day to be ex­empted from serv­ing on the jury be­cause of per­sonal con­nec­tions with vic­tims.

Two prospec­tive ju­rors broke down in tears as they told Su­pe­rior Court Jus­tice Gae­tan Du­mas of their ties to those who died on July 6, 2013, af­ter a run­away train car­ry­ing crude oil de­railed in the Que­bec com­mu­nity and ex­ploded.

Oth­ers cited school, work, loss of in­come and health con­cerns as rea­sons for not be­ing able to sit as ju­rors.

The three ex-rail­way em­ploy­ees who are on trial _ train driver Thomas Hard­ing, traf­fic con­troller Richard Labrie and man­ager of train op­er­a­tions Jean De­maitre _ were present in the court­room.

Shear­son, one of Hard­ing's three lawyers, said the de­fence will ar­gue their client's ac­tions were not crim­i­nal.

“Our con­tention is that there was a lack of se­cu­rity cul­ture within this rail­way com­pany and you can't strictly judge the ac­tions of an em­ployee who was on the front line and not given the cor­rect tools to ap­ply a proper safety cul­ture,” he said.

Mon­day afternoon was to be ded­i­cated to as­sess­ing whether prospec­tive ju­rors are suf­fi­ciently bilin­gual. An­glo­phone would-be ju­rors are sched­uled to ap­pear in court Tues­day for the same process.

All prospec­tive ju­rors deemed bilin­gual are to re­turn to court Sept. 29 for the of­fi­cial se­lec­tion of the 14-mem­ber jury.

The bank­rupt for­mer rail­way com­pany Mon­treal Maine and At­lantic Rail­way has also pleaded not guilty to caus­ing the deaths of 47 peo­ple and will face a sep­a­rate trial at a later date.

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