'It's not justice' — father on Radiohead sound engineer death verdict

'It's not justice' — father on Radiohead sound engineer death verdict

By Michael Upton | 01/12/2020

'It's not justice' — father on Radiohead sound engineer death verdict
Scott Johnson


THE dad of a sound technician killed by a falling stage roof before a Radiohead concert welcomed an engineer finally being held accountable for his death but insisted: “Justice has not been served.”

Ken Johnson spoke out after statement after a disciplinary hearing for Domenic Cugliari — who was responsible for the “design and approval” of the stage which collapsed in Canada in 2012, killing Ken’s 33-year-old son Scott — found him guilty of misconduct and stripped him of his professional licence.

Radiohead called the judgement – which comes three years after criminal proceedings were abandoned – “eight years too late”.

And after last Monday’s hearing by the Discipline Committee of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO), Ken said: “Had this become clear at the outset, it would have been a different outcome.

“Scott was setting up drums. Someone should have ensured he was safe.

“The PEO did a good job but justice, whatever that is, has not been served.”

Radiohead, who described former Brinsworth Comprehensive student Scott as “our tour technician and friend”, said in a statement: “Mr Cugliari has acknowledged his catalogue of errors and the negligence on his part that led to the stage collapse and Scott’s death.

“These admissions are eight years too late.

“If the evidence now accepted by Mr Cugliari had been agreed at the original court case brought against him, (event promoter) Live Nation and the contractor Optex Staging, it would have been complete in one day, with a very different outcome and some justice would have been delivered.

“As it is, Mr Cugliari has now retired and is seemingly beyond any legal recrimination.”

The PEO found Mr Cugliari guilty of professional misconduct in affirming a stage structure for public use without having reasonable basis for doing so, conducting an inadequate review of the construction of the stage, and preparing, signing and sealing, or transmitting for use by the client, incomplete, inconsistent, incorrect or inadequate structural drawings for the stage.

The firm he worked for, Canada Inc, was also found guilty of professional misconduct and the panel ordered that the company be fined $5,000 if and when it seeks a new industry certificate of authorisation.

Live Nation, Optex Staging and Mr Cugliari were charged in 2013 under health and safety laws but the trial failed get underway after the judge responsible was promoted to a higher court and the case collapsed in 2017 due to the amount of time elapsed.

An inquest in Canada last year returned a verdict of accidental death, finding the stage roof was too weak, and a similar hearing in Doncaster concluded inadequate technical advice and construction techniques were responsible for Scott's death.

Ken, who lives with Sue in Hickleton, said he feared the door was now permanently closed on legal action.

He has campaigned since Scott’s death for improved safety standards in the entertainment industry.

As well as Radiohead, who dedicated their 2016 album A Moon Shaped Pool to Scott, the drum technician had worked with Keane, Robyn and The Australian Pink Floyd Experience.

Ken and Sue founded a bursary fund on Scott’s name for promising musicians, which has now provided 23 drumkits for learners.

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