Lawyers for Lac-Megantic accused want charges dropped

Lawyers for two of the three men accused in the Lac-Megantic tragedy are calling for their criminal charges to be dropped.

The accused are train engineer Tom Harding, railway traffic controller Richard Labrie and Jean Demaitre, the manager of train operations.

They are each charged with 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death _ one for each victim of the July 2013 train derailment.

A conviction carries a maximum life sentence.

The union that represents Harding and Labrie as well as their lawyers held a news conference in Montreal this afternoon to ask the Crown to drop the charges.

Demaitre is not unionized.

In its final report into the disaster, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada criticized the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic railway for its ``weak safety culture.''

It also took aim at Transport Canada for its poor oversight of railways, particularly amid a booming oil-by-rail industry across the continent.

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