Drop charges against MM&A workers, say supporters

Engineer Tom Harding, operations manager John Demaitre and company controller Richard Labrie....

Engineer Tom Harding, operations manager John Demaitre and company controller Richard Labrie. Lawyers and union officials said on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, the Crown should drop the 47 criminal counts against them in the deadly Lac-Megantic railway blast. STEVENS LEBLANC/JOURNAL DE QUEBEC/AGENCE QMI)

Brian Daly, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:50 PM ET

MONTREAL — The Crown should drop 47 criminal counts against a train engineer and two colleagues in the deadly Lac-Megantic railway blast, lawyers and union officials said Thursday.

The supporters told a news conference that engineer Tom Harding, operations manager John Demaitre and company controller Richard Labrie are "scapegoats" in the explosion that killed 47 people last July.

Each man faces a charge of criminal negligence causing death for each person who was killed in the town near the border with Maine. In a report issued this month, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) criticized the now-defunct Montreal, Maine and Atlantic (MMA) Railway for a "weak safety culture." The TSB also says Transport Canada didn't audit the firm often or thoroughly enough. The TSB said Transport Canada was aware as far back as 2005 that MMA had "problems with train securement" as well as track conditions and "training deficiencies."

 

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