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Radiohead Respond to Stay of Charges in 2012 Stage Collapse

Ian Gavan, Getty Images
Ian Gavan, Getty Images

The trial following the fatal stage collapse at a 2012 Radiohead concert has ended with the judge ruling to stay charges, prompting disbelief and anger from the members of the band.

As previously reported, the group’s June 2012 appearance at Toronto’s Downsview Park ended in disaster after the stage collapsed, killing Radiohead drum technician Scott Johnson and injuring three. Following a lengthy investigation, concert promoters Live Nation Canada and Live Nation Ontario were charged, along with Optex Staging and Services and an engineer at the venue. Live Nation immediately denied responsibility, insisting the company “did everything possible to ensure the safety of anyone who was on or near the stage,” and later argued they’d been denied their right to a speedy trial.

The judge in the case evidently agreed. “This case was a complex case that required more time than other cases in the system,” explained Judge Ann Nelson in her 21-page judgment. “After allowing for all of the exceptional circumstances that were in play, this case still will have taken too long to complete.” After seeing the news, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke told Twitter followers the staying left him speechless.

Yorke and his bandmates were eventually able to put together a response to Nelson’s ruling, which they condemned via Facebook update, describing themselves as “appalled” by the decision and arguing that it “offers no consolation, closure or assurance that this kind of accident will not happen again.” Ultimately, they argued, the staying amounts to “an insult to the memory of Scott Johnson, his parents, and our crew.” The charges can be revived in a year should the prosecutors decide to appeal.

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