A judge in Canada has stayed the charges stemming from a stage collapse at Radiohead’s 2012 concert in Toronto, which killed the band’s drum technician Scott Johnson, The Globe and Mail reports. Judge Ann Nelson gave the order to halt the proceedings – at least for now – after numerous trial delays.
Nelson’s decision was prompted by the Canadian Supreme Court’s new trial time restrictions, which were established in 2016 and state that cases in provincial court should go to trial within 18 months. However, it is possible that the charges could be revived within a year if an appeal is filed.
The June 2012 incident at Toronto’s Downsview Park took place prior to Radiohead’s performance. A piece of outdoor structure fell, crushing and killing Johnson, 33, and hurting three others. Shortly after the collapse, the Ontario Ministry of Labour began investigating concert promoter, Live Nation Canada. In 2013, the Ministry charged Live Nation, the scaffolding company Optex Staging and Services and engineer Domenic Cugliari under the province’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. Live Nation denied any wrongdoing.
While the case did go to trial, the proceedings lasted over 40 trial days spread across 14 months – and then presiding judge, Shaun Nakatsuru, was appointed to a higher court, effectively negating his jurisdiction and leading to a mistrial. Prior to his new appointment, Justice Nakatsuru notably denied Live Nation’s request to throw out the charges on unreasonable trial delays last October.
In her new decision, Nelson wrote, “This case was a complex case that required more time than other cases in the system. After allowing for all of the exceptional circumstances that were in play, this case still will have taken too long to complete.” While Nelson argued that “timely justice” was important to those facing charges and to society at large, she acknowledged the “negative impact” her ruling would have on the victim’s family.
“No doubt, this decision will be incomprehensible to Mr. Johnson’s family, who can justifiably complain that justice has not been done,” Nelson wrote. Live Nation’s lawyer also reportedly called the ruling “brutal” for Johnson’s family.
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