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Live Nation seek to dismiss criminal case over Radiohead stage collapse

By | Published on Monday 17 October 2016


Live Nation last week sought to dismiss the criminal case launched against it and others following the stage collapse that occurred ahead of a Canadian Radiohead show in 2012 on the basis the legal proceedings are taking too long.

As previously reported, Radiohead’s British drum tech Scott Johnson was killed and three others injured after a scaffolding structure collapsed onto the open-air stage on which the band were due to perform in June 2012.

The show was promoted by Live Nation, and the live music giant and its Ontario subsidiary were subsequently charged under the Canadian province’s Occupational Health And Safety Act. Optex Staging & Services Inc was also charged over four alleged breaches of health and safety laws, while an engineer working on the show, Domenic Cugliari, received one charge.

The criminal case arrived in court last year, but hopes of a speedy resolution were not met, and further hearings have taken place at various points this year. It’s thought a verdict could now follow next January, but the lawyer representing the Ministry Of Labour in the case, David McCaskill, last week confirmed to the Toronto Star that Live Nation were now trying to have the case dismissed because of the “unreasonable delay”. The live giant made the claim based on a recent precedent in Canadian law over unreasonably long court battles.

According to the Star, Live Nation’s lawyer then said in court on Friday that this case has been rumbling through the system for so long that it was “so far beyond the pale it simply can’t be justified”. But McCaskill countered that this was an “opportunistic” move by the live music firm, adding that the defendants hadn’t complained about the delays until the recent precedent setting case. The government’s lawyer argued: “You can’t stand up at the eleventh hour and complain that your rights have been violated. This isn’t a traffic ticket. This is something of great consequence”.

Needless to say, Johnson’s family back in the UK agree. His father had already expressed disappointment over Live Nation’s latest manoeuvres in the case, telling The Star last week: “Any sympathy I had has gone and we get more and more angry at the deflection of blame … They seem to have forgotten that Scott is now dead for a very long time, which is highly offensive to us”.

He added that “if the case is not resolved, how do we know how to ensure it never happens again?”