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Lac-Megantic criminal negligence trial in September to be bilingual

SHERBROOKE, Que. — The trial later this year for three ex-railway employees charged criminally in the Lac-Megantic train disaster will be heard by a bilingual jury in another town.

A spokesman for the Crown says Quebec Superior Court Justice Gaetan Dumas ruled on the venue and language on Monday as lawyers argue several motions on the case this week.

The July 2013 disaster killed 47 people in the small Quebec town and forced thousands from their homes as fire from a derailed train engulfed and destroyed most of the downtown core.

Three ex-railway employees — train driver Thomas Harding, railway traffic controller Richard Labrie and Jean Demaitre, the manager of train operations — have pleaded not guilty to 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death.

Their bilingual trial is to be held in Sherbrooke instead of Lac-Megantic and is set to last from Sept. 11 to Dec. 21.

Conviction on a charge of criminal negligence causing death carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

The bankrupt former railway company, Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway, was charged with the three men and has pleaded not guilty to similar charges.

It will face a separate trial at a later date.

The Canadian Press

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