In 2012, tragedy struck at a Radiohead concert in Toronto when 33-year-old drum tech Scott Johnson died in a stage collapsing incident. The event left three others injured and saw Live Nation, engineer Domenic Cugliari, and contractor Optex Staging charged with 13 offenses under provincial health and safety laws. But now, those charges have been stopped in their tracks.
On Tuesday, a judge ruled to stay the trial, determining that the entire process was taking too long to go forward. According to The Globe and Mail, Canadian provincial courts have a window of 18 months to proceed with trials, and at five years, this case was approaching three times that amount.
Ontario court judge Ann Nelson wrote that the case was a complex one “that required more time than other cases in the system. After allowing for all of the exceptional circumstances that were in play, this case still will have taken too long to complete.”
Both Nelson and defendant Live Nation have acknowledged that this decision will be brutal for the family of Johnson, with Nelson writing that they “can justifiably complain that justice has not been done.” Pitchfork points out that Nelson was not the first judge assigned to this case, and that previous judge Shaun Nakatsuru ruled against Live Nation’s 2016 bid to throw out the case for the same reasons that Nelson has now granted. Earlier this year, Nakatsuru received an appointment to a higher court and lost jurisdiction on the case, resulting in a mistrial and this new case, which would have began on Monday.
The news is not sitting well with the musicians involved in the tragic concert. Both Thom Yorke and opening act Caribou have tweeted out disbelief that the trial is not going forward. Yorke wrote “words utterly fail me” while Caribou called the situation “bulls*it.” There still could be justice, though. There’s a one year window in which the case can be revived, though it remains to be seen if this is a possibility.