Thom Yorke on Stage Collapse Trial Standstill: 'Words Utterly Fail Me'

Canadian judge stayed charges stemming from fatal stage collapse at a June 2012 Radiohead concert in Toronto stayed after numerous delays

A judge in Canada has stayed the charges stemming from a fatal stage collapse at a June 2012 Radiohead concert in Toronto. Credit: Tara Walton/Getty

UPDATE 2: Radiohead have released a statement on the death of drum technician Scott Johnson and the ensuing standstill trial in which a judge stayed the charges. "We are appalled by the decision to stay the charges against Live Nation, Optex Staging and Domenic Cugliari," the band wrote on their site. "This is an insult to the memory of Scott Johnson, his parent and our crew. It offers no consolation, closure or assurance that this kind of accident will not happen again."

UPDATE: Thom Yorke voiced frustration about the standstill trial concerning the 2012 death of a Radiohead drum technician, Scott Johnson from a stage collapse. "Words utterly fail me ... " Yorke wrote on Twitter, quoting tweet by the band Caribou, who would have supported Radiohead at the Toronto concert. Caribou also wrote of the standstill: "(As someone who was standing behind this stage when it collapsed and would have been on it an hour later...) This is complete bullshit."

A judge in Canada has stayed the charges stemming from a stage collapse at Radiohead's 2012 concert in Toronto, which killed the band's drum technician Scott Johnson, The Globe and Mail reports. Judge Ann Nelson gave the order to halt the proceedings – at least for now – after numerous trial delays.

Nelson's decision was prompted by the Canadian Supreme Court's new trial time restrictions, which were established in 2016 and state that cases in provincial court should go to trial within 18 months. However, it is possible that the charges could be revived within a year if an appeal is filed.

The June 2012 incident at Toronto's Downsview Park took place prior to Radiohead's performance. A piece of outdoor structure fell, crushing and killing Johnson, 33, and hurting three others. Shortly after the collapse, the Ontario Ministry of Labour began investigating concert promoter, Live Nation Canada. In 2013, the Ministry charged Live Nation, the scaffolding company Optex Staging and Services and engineer Domenic Cugliari under the province's Occupational Health and Safety Act. Live Nation denied any wrongdoing.

While the case did go to trial, the proceedings lasted over 40 trial days spread across 14 months – and then presiding judge, Shaun Nakatsuru, was appointed to a higher court, effectively negating his jurisdiction and leading to a mistrial. Prior to his new appointment, Justice Nakatsuru notably denied Live Nation's request to throw out the charges on unreasonable trial delays last October.

In her new decision, Nelson wrote, "This case was a complex case 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." While Nelson argued that "timely justice" was important to those facing charges and to society at large, she acknowledged the "negative impact" her ruling would have on the victim's family.

"No doubt, this decision will be incomprehensible to Mr. Johnson's family, who can justifiably complain that justice has not been done," Nelson wrote. Live Nation's lawyer also reportedly called the ruling "brutal" for Johnson's family.