Trial in fatal stage tower collapse could be in jeopardy

PEO will monitor the trial of a contractor, concert promoter and other individuals charged under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for their involvement in a June 2012 fatal stage tower collapse at Toronto’s Downsview Park.

The collapse, which killed a drum technician employed by the rock band Radiohead, and injured three others, occurred in high winds just a short time before the concert was to begin.

The charges were laid in June 2013, and the trial was originally scheduled to wrap up by January 2017, more than three years after the original incident.

In June, however, a retrial was ordered, when the presiding judge, Justice Shaun Nakatsuru, was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court, and had to withdraw from the case.

The new trial was scheduled to begin on September 5 and continue through to the spring of 2018, but defence lawyers argue the case has seen unreasonable delays that violate their clients’ right to a timely trial.

Nakatsuru had previously rejected a mistrial application from defence lawyers on grounds of inordinate delay in the proceedings.

At the time of the incident, PEO offered to assist the Ontario Ministry of Labour in its investigation. As part of PEO’s mandate to govern its licence and certificate holders and regulate professional engineering practice to serve and protect the public interest, the regulator can help to determine whether professional engineering work was performed by PEO licence holders in compliance with the regulations under the Professional Engineers Act.

“PEO would be pleased to assist the ministry’s investigation, if requested, to find out if engineering work was carried out by appropriately licensed people and companies, and establish if there were any issues related to the engineering performed,” said Linda Latham, P.Eng., deputy registrar, regulatory compliance at PEO.

Under section 38 of the engineering act, PEO investigators must preserve secrecy and confidentiality of all matters that come to their knowledge in the course of an investigation.