Canada

Walkerton water brothers elect trial by jury

Stan and Frank Koebel, who ran Walkerton's water system during the tainted water tragedy, have asked to be tried by a jury.

The brothers who ran Walkerton's water supply during the tainted water tragedy appeared in court on Tuesday, asking for a jury to hear the case against them and waiving their right to a preliminary hearing.

Stan and Frank Koebel face charges of endangering the public for not using proper chlorination, falsifying documents and failing to alert officials of deadly contamination in the Ontario town's water supply in 2000.

Stan Koebel's lawyer, Bill Trudell, said skipping a preliminary hearing will ease the burden on the courts and the brothers, who plan to fight the charges.

Trudell said the Koebels intend to argue they were not aware of the dangers posed by the way they were running the water system in May 2000.

Seven people died and thousands became sick after deadly E. coli bacteria seeped into a town well and infected the town's water supply.

"There's a real difference in criminal responsibility and knowing the consequences of some of the things you did," Trudel said.

"So in other words, if I am not aware of the danger, if I am not aware of the risk, it is not foreseeable – those kinds of things are very different and have to be weighed."

A date will be set next month for the trial and jury selection sometime this fall.

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