Ottawa Ontario - Two federal cases related to the 2013 Lake Megantic rail disaster are now unlikely to proceed to the Federal Court of Canada, following an agreement between the Crown and the defence.
The federal cases are unrelated to the continuing Superior Court trial of three former employees of Montreal Maine & Atlantic (MMA) railway in Sherbrooke, Quebec, in which locomotive engineer Thomas Harding, rail traffic controller Richard Labrie and operations manager Jean Demaitre each face 47 charges of criminal negligence causing death.
Seven MMA employees, including the three accused in the Superior Court trial, are charged under the federal Fisheries Act for polluting fish habitats when crude oil flowed into Lake Megantic and the Chaudiere River.
Also charged in the federal cases are:
The Canadian and American entities of the defunct MMA railway are also named as defendants.
In a second case, all of the same defendants except for Richard Labrie are charged under the Railway Safety Act, accused of omitting to safely secure a train with a sufficient number of handbrakes.
Neither the Crown nor the defence divulged any details of the agreement, because it has yet to be approved by the Federal Court judge in the case.
All parties are scheduled to meet at the Lake Megantic courthouse in February.
For the charges laid under the Fisheries Act, a guilty verdict carries a maximum fine of $1 million.
There are no provisions for prison time.
Under the Railway Safety Act, each person found guilty faces up to six months in jail and up to $50,000 in fines.
Companies found guilty under the same regulations can be fined up to $1,000,000.