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Radiohead say admission of negligence by engineer involved in Toronto stage collapse “eight years too late”

By | Published on Monday 23 November 2020


Radiohead have again criticised the man who was responsible for the design and approval of the stage that collapsed ahead of a 2012 concert in Toronto killing the band’s drum tech Scott Johnson. Band members said on social media that Domenic Cugliari’s recent admission of errors and negligence had come “eight years too late”.

Johnson died when the roof of an open air stage set up at Downsview Park in Toronto collapsed shortly before doors were due to open for a Radiohead concert. The show’s promoter Live Nation, production firm Optex Staging & Services Inc and Cugliari were all charged under Ontario’s Occupational Health And Safety Act in relation to the incident.

However, that legal action stalled and was then abandoned because of legal technicalities. Though a subsequent inquest made various recommendations as to what regulators could and should do to stop such a tragedy from occurring again in the future.

In a separate inquest in Johnson’s hometown of Doncaster last year, coroner Nicola Mundy concluded that his death was the result of “inadequate advice coupled with wholly inadequate construction techniques”. She added: “It’s quite clear from what I have heard that the design and construction itself had inherent deficiencies within them”.

The latest hearing in relation to the stage collapse has been undertaken by the Association Of Professional Engineers Of Ontario. According to CBC News, that organisation’s investigation into the 2012 incident was delayed because Cugliari claimed it not longer had any jurisdiction following his decision to retire from the profession in 2018.

However, a misconduct hearing did go ahead last week during which, Radiohead said in their statement: “Cugliari acknowledged his catalogue of errors and the negligence on his part that led to the stage collapse and Scott’s death”.

The band went on: “These admissions are eight years too late. If the evidence now accepted by Mr Cugliari had been agreed at the original court case brought against him, Live Nation and the contractor Optex Staging, it would have been complete in one day, with a very different outcome and some justice would have been delivered”.

“As it is”, they then added, “Mr Cugliari has now retired and is seemingly beyond any legal recrimination. This is a sad day. Our thoughts and love are, as ever, with Scott’s parents, Ken and Sue Johnson, his family and friends, and our crew”.