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New inquest into Radiohead drum tech death to open in March

By | Published on Thursday 20 December 2018


A new inquest into the death six years ago of Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson, after staging collapsed ahead of a show in Toronto, is to open next March, it has been announced. This comes after criminal proceedings in relation to the tragedy being halted in September last year, following years of delays.

After the criminal case was abandoned, the Chief Coroner of Canadian province Ontario announced that a new inquest into Johnson’s death would be launched. Radiohead, who were highly critical of what happened with the criminal case, welcomed the move, but said it would “not bring those responsible for Scott’s death to account, and it provides no justice for Scott and his family”.

Johnson was killed and three others injured ahead of a planned Radiohead show at Downsview Park in Toronto in 2012, after a scaffolding structure collapsed onto the open-air stage on which the band were due to perform. The show was promoted by Live Nation, and the live music giant was subsequently charged under Ontario’s Occupational Health And Safety Act, alongside provider Optex Staging & Services Inc and an individual engineer working on the show, Domenic Cugliari.

The criminal case reached court in 2015, but quickly started to drag. Then in June last year the judge overseeing the trial was promoted and no longer had jurisdiction. As a result a mistrial was declared and the whole case was set to begin anew. However, the defendants then argued that the entire case should instead be abandoned, citing a relatively new precedent in Canadian law designed to stop criminal cases from dragging on indefinitely.

The new judge considering the proceedings subsequently agreed that, under that new precedent, the charges against Live Nation, Optex and Cugliari should indeed be ‘permanently stayed’.

The inquest is set to begin on 25 Mar, and will examine the circumstances leading up to Johnson’s death. A jury will then make recommendations on how to prevent similar incidents.