Published Apr 09, 2019The father of killed Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson told an inquest today that "the levels of incompetence" that led to the fatal stage collapse at Toronto's Downsview Park were "clearly staggering."
The remarks by Ken Johnson came on the final day of an inquest launched in Ontario into the death of 33-year-old Scott Johnson, who was killed in a stage collapse before Radiohead's performance at Downsview Park in 2012.
"The facts are that the stage was overloaded with no factor of safety. Bracing was missing, as were clamps to hold the cathead beams, with a lack of trained operatives working excessive hours," Ken Johnson said during closing arguments today at the coroner's inquest into his son's death, CBC reports.
Johnson added, "I hope that no one is in doubt that Scott's life could have been saved. We feel he was also let down by the justice system and consider that the closure of the case not only had gaps but was not honest in its use of that 11b motion."
Following Johnson's death in the stage collapse, the Ontario Ministry of Labour brought charges against promoter Live Nation, contractor Optex Staging and engineer Domenic Cugliari in 2013. But in the wake of multiple delays for various reasons, all 10 charges surrounding Johnson's death were stayed because an Ontario judge ruled the case had taken too long to come to trial and thus violated judicial time limits and the defendants' rights.
As previously reported, an inquest into the tragedy has been ongoing since March, with today marking the final day of the proceedings. The coroner's counsel has now presented a list of six proposed recommendations for jurors to consider when drafting their report on the case.
The inquest has heard the testimonies of 25 witnesses, including Radiohead drummer Philip Selway and various Optex employees and engineers. Optex owner Dale Martin recently testified at the inquest that the stage design called for a truss component that Opex did not have, saying the company had known about the issue for years and that engineer Cugliari had been alerted to the problem repeatedly. Cugliari has disputed that claim.
In December 2018, Ken Johnson questioned the effectiveness of the inquest, saying: "It gives me no satisfaction that the inquest is taking place, but I do trust in the process. I do not expect to learn anything [at the inquest], as the facts were clear and proven in court."
He added: "I hope that a 'Johnson ruling' could be established to allow a judge to have the final word on a Jordan ruling when he has heard all the evidence, that evidence is clear and he has warned the defence for time-wasting repeatedly. The Jordan ruling should have been used to sort all the parking and speeding offences to clear the courts, but to have a ruling that throws out cases that are proven is nuts."
Now that all submissions have ended at the inquest, the jury has now begun deliberations.