Lake Megantic - Quebec's Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) will not appeal the not-guilty verdicts reached by the jury in the trial of three former Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MMA) rail workers for their role in the 2013 derailment and explosions in Lake Megantic.
The DPCP announced its decision in a statement on Friday, saying it had carefully reviewed the questions of law pertaining to the case.
"The prosecutors concluded that in the best interest of the public, the case would not be appealed," said DPCP spokesperson Jean Pascal Boucher.
Boucher said prosecutors had presented all the admissible documents in court and had called on more than thirty witnesses.
On 19 Jan 2018 after a four-month trial and nine days of deliberations, jurors acquitted the three former MMA railway employees charged with criminal negligence causing 47 deaths.
Locomotive engineer Tom Harding, 56, rail traffic controller Richard Labrie, 59, and operations manager Jean Demaitre, 53, were indicted for their roles in the derailment of a runaway fuel train early on 6 Jul 2013.
Several tankers carrying highly volatile crude oil exploded, turning downtown Lake Megantic into an inferno killing 47 people.
Class Action Suit Still Looming
Harding's defence lawyer, Charles Shearson, says he spoke with his client on Friday after the Crown released its statement.
"He is relieved to be able to put, at least the whole criminal process, behind him and to be able to move forward," said Shearson.
He said an appeal would have been surprising given the trial was before a jury.
"There would have had to be an error in the directives, or in a preliminary decision by his honourable Justice Dumas," he said.
Tom Harding is still a defendant in a class action lawsuit filed against his former employer, MMA, which has since gone bankrupt, as well as Canadian Pacific.
Shearson says since it is a civil suit, it would not carry any criminal charges.
No date has been set.