Irving-owned railway pleads not guilty to safety violations in oil transport

SAINT JOHN, N.B. - A railway owned by New Brunswick's Irving family has pleaded not guilty to 24 charges alleging the company violated safety standards in the way it transported oil.

The allegations against the New Brunswick Southern Railway Company Ltd., a subsidiary of J.D. Irving Ltd., occurred after a Transport Canada probe set off by the 2013 rail derailment in Lac Megantic, Que., that killed 47 people.

According to court documents, half of the 24 charges against the railway related to an alleged failure to create proper shipping documents and the other half allege unqualified personnel were involved in the shipments.

These were not violations relating to the Lac Megantic disaster itself, but came from other occasions between Nov. 3, 2012, and July 5, 2013, in the Saint John area.

The company was originally due in court Nov. 27 but delays in disclosures from the Crown resulted in the plea coming on Friday.

Last fall, Irving Oil was ordered to pay $4 million after pleading guilty to 34 counts stemming from the investigation into the Lac Megantic disaster.

The charges under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act resulted from a joint investigation by Transport Canada and the RCMP that was prompted by the deadly train derailment.

On July 6, 2013, a train carrying 7.7 million litres of crude oil sped toward the small Quebec town at 104 km/h before derailing.

The case against New Brunswick Southern Railway will return to court on June 4 to set trial dates.


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