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Bilingual Lac-Mégantic criminal negligence trial to be held in Sherbrooke

Smoke rises from railway cars that were carrying crude oil after derailing in downtown Lac-Megantic, Que., on July 6, 2013. A Quebec Superior Court judge is allowing changes to the class action lawsuit in the 2013 Lac-Mégantic disaster.
Smoke rises from railway cars that were carrying crude oil after derailing in downtown Lac-Megantic, Que., on July 6, 2013. A Quebec Superior Court judge is allowing changes to the class action lawsuit in the 2013 Lac-Mégantic disaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

The trial later this year for three ex-railway employees charged criminally in the Lac-Mégantic train disaster will be heard by a bilingual jury in another town.

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A spokesman for the Crown says Quebec Superior Court Justice Gaetan Dumas ruled on the venue and language on Monday as lawyers argue several motions on the case this week.

READ MORE: Driver and owner of train in Lac-Mégantic disaster added to class action lawsuit

The July 2013 disaster killed 47 people in the small Quebec town and forced thousands from their homes as fire from a derailed train engulfed and destroyed most of the downtown core.

WATCH BELOW: The disaster at Lac-Mégantic

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Three ex-railway employees – train driver Thomas Harding, railway traffic controller Richard Labrie and Jean Demaitre, the manager of train operations – have pleaded not guilty to 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death.

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Their bilingual trial is to be held in Sherbrooke instead of Lac-Mégantic and is set to last from Sept. 11 to Dec. 21.

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Conviction on a charge of criminal negligence causing death carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.