A year has passed since the first day of the trial, which began March 12, 2012. During the month of March, prosecution lawyers presented witnesses and experts who helped them round up the evidence against tobacco companies (this process will come to an end during the month of April). In recent weeks, factual witnesses came to tell their stories. Thus, the court heard Minoo Bilimoria, former microbiologist at Imperial Tobacco, Wayne Knox, former head of the marketing department at Imperial Tobacco, William A. Farone, former Director of Research and Development at Philip Morris and the famous Insider Jeffrey Wigand, former vice president of research and development at Brown & Williamson.
A safer cigarette
William A. Farone came to explain how he was hired in 1976 to design a safer cigarette for Philip Morris. Farone has confirmed that he and the company executives took for granted at the time that chemicals in cigarettes caused cancer. This was in fact the reason why he was hired. Meanwhile, the company said in public, as its official speech, that “it has not been proven that smoking causes cancer and addiction.” Farone was dismissed in 1983. At the same time, according to the witness, Philip Morris would have dismantled its research laboratory to eliminate research elements that could be used as evidence in the event of a lawsuit against the company. Remember that Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, one of the companies currently targeted by the class action lawsuit, is a subsidiary of Philip Morris.
During the month of March, many prosecution experts also came to complete their testimony. The court heard Christian Bourque, a specialist in population surveys and market research, Jack Siemiatycki, epidemiology specialist and Professor at Department of Preventive and Social Medicine of University of Montreal, and Dr. Juan Carlos Negrete, addiction specialist and Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University.
By the end of April, lawyers for the prosecution will have exposed the evidence they hold against tobacco companies. Then, it will be time for the tobacco companies to call their witnesses and experts at the helm. The start date of the defense presentation has not been confirmed to date.