Coroner’s inquest to be held into fatal Radiohead stage collapse in Toronto

Emergency personnel are on scene near a collapsed stage at Downsview Park in Toronto on Saturday, June 16, 2012.
Emergency personnel are on scene near a collapsed stage at Downsview Park in Toronto on Saturday, June 16, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO – A coroner’s inquest will be held into the death of a drum technician who was killed in a stage collapse at a Radiohead concert in Toronto five years ago, a move welcomed by the British man’s family.

Scott Johnson, 33, was killed on June 16, 2012, when part of a massive stage structure crashed down just hours before Radiohead, a British band, was due to perform at a park in the city’s north end. Three others were injured.

“We thank the coroner for bringing it forward and giving us the comfort that there will be an inquest,” Johnson’s father, Ken Johnson, in a phone interview from the United Kingdom on Thursday.

READ MORE: Radiohead ‘appalled’ by staying of charges in stage collapse

“It does give us the opportunity to come back across and talk to people involved to create solutions to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

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He added, however, that the family is still disappointed that no one will be held responsible for his son’s death.

A year after the fatal stage collapse, 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 declared he had lost jurisdiction over the case given his appointment to a higher court. That decision led to a senior justice declaring a mistrial in May and a new hearing was planned.

READ MORE: Charges in fatal 2012 Radiohead stage collapse in Toronto stayed over trial delays

In September, the charges in the case were stayed when a judge ruled the justice system had failed in allowing the case to take far too long to come to trial. The ruling was decried by the Johnson family, the Ontario Federation of Labour, as well as members of Radiohead.

The band said at the time that the ruling was “an insult to the memory of Scott Johnson, his parents and our crew.”

Ken Johnson said the inquest is the “second-best” thing, adding that “it would have been much better to see the court case through properly, even if the case had to be heard again.”

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Cheryl Mahyr, a spokeswoman with the office of Ontario’s chief coroner, said more information about the inquest would be released later Thursday.

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