Inquest into fatal Radiohead stage collapse set to get underway in Toronto
By The Canadian Press
TORONTO – An inquest is set to get underway today into the fatal stage collapse at a Radiohead concert in Toronto nearly seven years ago.
The band’s drum technician, Scott Johnson, was killed when a massive structure crashed down on him on June 16, 2012 – just hours before Radiohead was set to take the stage at Downsview Park.
Charges in the case were stayed because the case took too long to get to trial.
The inquest, which is expected to last three weeks and hear from roughly 25 witnesses, will examine the circumstances around Johnson’s death, but will not assign blame.
A jury may make recommendations aimed at preventing similar incidents.
The victim’s father, Ken Johnson, and Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke have been highly critical of the judicial process.
“They can’t bring Scott back – that’s obviously painful,” Ken Johnson told The Canadian Press last year. “But it needs to be clear. I think people need to see what’s happened.”
When the British band played in Toronto last summer for the first time since the incident, Yorke did not hold back.
“The people who should be held accountable are still not being held accountable,” he told the crowd at Scotiabank Arena in July 2018.
After an investigation, 13 charges were laid under provincial health and safety laws against the show’s promoter, Live Nation, contractor Optex Staging and engineer Domenic Cugliari.
The case went off the rails when the presiding judge at trial declared he had lost jurisdiction after being appointed to a higher court. Another judge declared a mistrial and a new hearing was planned.
Defence lawyers argued the charges should be stayed because the delays violated their clients’ rights to a timely trial, which was expected to wrap up in mid-2018, five years after the charges were laid.
The new judge agreed, noting the Supreme Court of Canada’s so-called Jordan decision, which set a ceiling of 18 months for proceedings in provincial court.