Engineer in deadly Toronto 2012 Radiohead stage collapse guilty of malpractice

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An engineer who signed on to a Radiohead concert stage that collapsed and killed a drum technician in Toronto eight years ago has been found guilty of professional misconduct, but the findings and the engineer accept of these come too late to do justice, according to the group. and the family of the deceased man.Domenic Cugliari last week approved the findings of the Professional Engineers Ontario Disciplinary Committee in the June 16, 2012 incident that killed Scott Johnson.

Johnson, 33, was tuning a drum kit for the band ahead of a concert at Toronto’s Downsview Park when the massive outdoor stage structure collapsed on top of him. Three others were injured.

Last week, the disciplinary committee found that Cugliari did not notice many errors and omissions in the stage design drawings and, as a result, did not revise the plans.

He also found that Cugliari did not examine the trusses with heavy lighting equipment and did not realize that these trusses were poorly connected to other beams.

Wait for the blame to take its toll: the victim’s father

Johnson’s father said the lengthy process of finding responsibility for their son’s death – which included a court case and an investigation – has taken its toll.

“Not knowing the outcome for eight years is destroying you,” said an emotional Ken Johnson in a telephone interview from his home in Doncaster, England.

Scott Johnson was working as a drum technician for Radiohead when he was killed in a Toronto stage collapse in 2012. (Submitted by Ken Johnson)

Elder Johnson noted that Cugliari’s agreement with the disciplinary committee’s findings could have helped bring justice if it had come earlier.

A court case collapsed after the case took too long to be tried. As a result, occupational health and safety charges were suspended against Cugliari, along with Live Nation show promoter and entrepreneur Optex Staging.

“If that had been said on the first day of the trial, they wouldn’t have come to terms with… dismissing the case because it was taking too long,” Johnson said.

A coroner’s inquest into Johnson’s death learned last year that plans for the scene were riddled with errors, the wrong building components were being used in key areas and construction was behind schedule.

Cugliari testified during the investigation that he did not check if the right parts were used because he trusted the contractor.

The investigation’s criterion was not to blame, and a jury returned with a series of recommendations aimed at preventing future deaths.

The engineer apologizes

The Discipline Committee of Professional Engineers Ontario concluded that Cugliari had signed a “field review report” sent to the contractor that said the scene was “structurally sound.”

At the committee hearing, Cugliari said he was sorry for what had happened.

“For now, I want to sincerely apologize to the Johnson family, the families of other injured workers, as well as the engineering profession,” he said, according to his attorney, Scott Thompson.

“I regret that I released the field review report stating that the stage was structurally sound and satisfactory for its intended use without fully ensuring that the appropriate collection trusses were installed. For that, I am very sorry. ”

Ken Johnson said the apology made little sense.

“We don’t know what pain he suffered or for how long,” he said of his son. “We weren’t there to help him, how sad. “

“Admissions are 8 years too late,” says Radiohead

Radiohead also said Cugliari’s words were insufficient.

“These admissions are eight years too late,” the group wrote on social media.

“If the evidence now accepted by Mr Cugliari had been accepted in the initial legal proceedings against him, Live Nation and the contractor Optex Staging, it would have been complete in one day, with a very different result and some justice. was delivered. »

Last year, at the start of the Discipline Committee proceedings, Cugliari attempted to withdraw from the proceedings, filing a petition saying Professional Engineers Ontario lacked jurisdiction because he had retired. The committee rejected the motion.

Cugliari had his engineering license revoked following the committee’s findings, and his company, Construction Control Inc., which filed for bankruptcy in 2018, lost his license.

If the company wishes to apply for a certificate from the association, it will have to pay a fine of $ 5,000.

Ken Johnson, seen in Toronto during the 2019 inquest into the death of his son Scott, said the apology offered by the engineer who signed at the collapsed scene made little sense. (Martin Trainor / CBC)

Johnson said he couldn’t believe the only sanction resulting from the collapse that killed his son was the revocation of a license from a retired engineer. He said he and his wife only had memories of their only child and sad trips to the cemetery.

“They say time is a healer,” Johnson said through tears.

“If anyone wants to make this statement, they should come to the cemetery and talk to them. It’s not getting better, it’s not really doing well. It’s a rotten, horrible, horrible situation.



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