Incompetence ‘clearly staggering,’ father of man killed in Radiohead stage collapse tells inquest

Incompetence ‘clearly staggering,’ father of man killed in Radiohead stage collapse tells inquest

The inquest has heard the plans for the stage were riddled with mistakes, the wrong building components were used in key areas, and the construction was running behind schedule. (Inquest exhibit)


The father of a drum technician who was crushed when a stage collapsed before a Radiohead show in Toronto, has described as “clearly staggering” what he called the “the levels of incompetence” displayed in building the stage

The facts are that the stage was overloaded with no factor of safety. Bracing was missing, as were clamps to hold the Cat Head beams, with a lack of trained operatives working excessive hours,” Ken Johnson said Tuesday during closing arguments at the coroner’s inquest into the death.

“It is my view that the only two credible witnesses regarding the build were Richard Young and Jules Gromers, who were only able to be so clear through their training.” Both men worked as part of Radiohead production crew.

Charges were laid under the Occupational Health and Safety Act but were later stayed because the matter took too long to get to trial.

The coroner’s counsel presented a list of six proposed recommendations for jurors to consider including in their report on the case.

Topping the list is a recommendation that the government of Ontario should, by December 2019, establish a permanent working group in conjunction with representatives of the live entertainment industry and labour working in the industry as well as Professional Engineers of Ontario.

Johnson was killed instantly in the collapse. (Richard Young)

Johnson, who lives with his wife in Hickleton, a village in South Yorkshire, U.K., told the inquest that he supports the recommendations, which are aimed at preventing such incidents in the future.

The inquest is meant to examine the circumstances surrounding Scott Johnson’s death but cannot assign blame.

Final submissions have ended and the jury has now begun deliberations.


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