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Radiohead 'appalled' by staying of charges in fatal stage collapse case

People look at a collapsed stage at Downsview Park in Toronto on June 16, 2012. The members of Radiohead say they are "appalled" that charges stemming from a fatal concert stage collapse in Toronto in 2012 were stayed. On Tuesday, a judge ruled the justice system had failed by allowing the case to take far too long to come to trial. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
September 08, 2017 - 10:35 AM

The members of Radiohead say they are "appalled" that charges stemming from a fatal concert stage collapse in Toronto in 2012 were stayed.

On Tuesday, a judge ruled the justice system had failed by allowing the case to take far too long to come to trial.

In a statement, the band said the decision "offers no consolation, closure or assurance that this kind of accident will not happen again."

They added it was "an insult to the memory of Scott Johnson, his parents and our crew."

Johnson, a 33-year-old British drum technician, was killed on June 16, 2012, a few hours before Radiohead was set to take the stage at Downsview Park. Three others were injured.

A year later, entertainment company Live Nation, engineer Domenic Cugliari and contractor Optex Staging were charged with a total of 13 offences under provincial health and safety laws.

The subsequent trial was derailed when the presiding judge, Shaun Nakatsuru, declared he had lost jurisdiction given his appointment to a higher court. That decision led to a senior justice declaring a mistrial in May, and a new hearing was set to begin Monday.

But Ontario court Judge Ann Nelson noted the Supreme Court of Canada has set a presumptive ceiling of 18 months for proceedings in provincial courts, and this case — which would have taken a total of almost five years to complete if it had gone to a second trial — would have lasted three times longer than that limit.

The judge acknowledged her ruling would have a "negative impact" on the victims of the stage collapse, especially on Johnson'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 said.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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