Sherbrooke Quebec - A lawyer for the engineer of the train that derailed and killed 47 people in Lake Megantic says his client's actions directly preceding the tragedy were not perfect but were reasonable.
Charles Shearson told the 14 jurors in his closing arguments today Tom Harding did not perfectly comply with the rules when he parked the oil-laden train outside the small town the night of 5 Jul 2013.
But Shearson says the company that owned the railroad didn't inform Harding of the latent risks of parking a train in such a location and his deviation from the rules that night was not a criminal act.
The Crown has argued Harding neither applied the required number of brakes on the train nor tested the system properly to ensure the brakes were working before he left for the night.
Early the following morning, the train carrying crude oil derailed, headed down to Lake Megantic and exploded, killing the 47 and destroying part of the downtown core.
Harding and his two former colleagues, Richard Labrie and Jean Demaitre, have all pleaded not guilty to one count of criminal negligence causing the death of 47 people.
Harding was the train's engineer, Labrie the rail traffic controller, and Demaitre the manager of train operations.
"We can't criminalize every departure from a rule," Shearson said Monday.
"Although Harding's conduct was not perfect it was reasonable. When you look at the entirety of the evidence you have the image of a very reliable man."
The Crown delivered closing arguments in Sherbrooke last week, as did lawyers representing Labrie and Demaitre.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Gaetan Dumas is expected to give his instructions to the jury later this week.