Sherbrooke Quebec - Jury selection is underway at a Quebec courthouse as the opening of the trial inches closer for those accused in the 2013 Lake Megantic train derailment that killed 47 people and destroyed part of the town.
Some 300 candidates were present today in Sherbrooke where Quebec Superior Court Justice Gaetan Dumas told them that if they were selected, they would need to dole out justice impartially and "without fear".
Dumas also told them they must be patient and have an open mind while listening to the whole of the evidence.
Three former railway employees, train driver Thomas Harding, traffic controller Richard Labrie, and manager of train operations Jean Demaitre, each face one charge of criminal negligence causing the death of 47 people.
Thomas Walsh, one of the defence lawyers, says he expects the 14 member jury to be formed by Friday afternoon.
He says the trial should begin Monday.
The Crown has signalled it will call 24 civilian and 11 police witnesses, and one expert witness, in a trial that is expected to last until December.
All three accused have pleaded not guilty.
The bankrupt former railway company Montreal Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) has also pleaded not guilty to causing the deaths of 47 people and will face a separate trial at a later date.
Between 800 and 1,200 prospective jurors were called to court in the initial days of jury selection.
Those who were deemed sufficiently bilingual and who didn't know any of the 47 people who died in 2013 were invited to court today for the final selection.
"It was a major event in this area," said Walsh.
"So you can imagine a lot of people knew someone who died or who was affected."
The trial is being held in Sherbrooke, 150 kilometres east of Montreal.