TORONTO – A new trial has been ordered for those charged in a deadly stage collapse at an outdoor Radiohead concert in Toronto, sending the case back to square one five years after the grim incident.
Prosecutors say a mistrial was declared after the presiding judge, Justice Shaun Nakatsuru, was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court earlier this year and ruled he no longer had jurisdiction over the case.
The entertainment company Live Nation, Toronto-area contractor Optex Staging and an engineer, Domenic Cugliari, were charged in 2013 with a total of 13 charges under the provincial Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The setback could put the case in jeopardy as one of the defence lawyers in the case, Scott Thompson, said they will be bringing an application to have the charges thrown out over unreasonable court delays.
That application is set to be heard in August. A similar application was rejected by Nakatsuru last fall.
If the new application is also unsuccessful, the new trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 5 and continue through May of next year.
The Ministry of Labour, which administers the Occupational Health and Safety Act, declined to comment on the case as it remains before the courts but said the right to be tried within a reasonable time is a fundamental part of the justice system.
“The Crown is always concerned about delays which interfere with that right,” a spokeswoman said in an email.
A British drum technician who was touring with the band was killed and three other workers were hurt after part of a massive outdoor structure came crashing down during setup for the June 2012 concert at Downsview Park.
The falling debris crushed Scott Johnson, a drum technician in his 30s, whom the band called “a highly skilled and valued member” of its road crew.
Live Nation Canada, Live Nation Ontario and Optex Staging each face four counts alleging they failed to ensure the stage structure was being built in a safe manner.
Cugliari, the engineer, faces one count of endangering a worker as a result of allegedly negligent or incompetent advice or certification.
Radiohead postponed a portion of its European tour that year following Johnson’s death.