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Stay of OHS Charges in 2009 Alberta Stage Collapse

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On August 1, 2009, just as Hollywood actor, Kevin Costner, was getting ready to take the main stage with his band at the Big Valley Jamboree, plow winds in excess of 100 kilometres per hour contributed to its collapse. One concert-goer was killed and more than a dozen others were injured.

On July 29, 2011, charges were laid against Premier Global Production Company Inc., 107372 Alberta Ltd. and Panhandle Productions Ltd. Altogether, the three companies faced 33 charges under Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety legislation. The charges primarily related to the failure to ensure, as far as it is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers. In the case of Premier Global, it was also accused of failing to ensure equipment was of sufficient size, strength and design and made of suitable materials to withstand the stresses imposed on it during its operation and to perform the function for which it is intended or designed and a failure to ensure that rigging was of a sufficient breaking strength.

After the charges were laid, the Crown Prosecutor received additional information which ultimately lead the Crown to determine that “there was no reasonable chance of conviction” against any of the three companies and, therefore, all charges were stayed.

The staying of charges (as opposed to a dismissal) means that the Crown is able to reactivate any or all of the charges with one year should new evidence come forward. For more information see: http://www.ohscanada.com/news/no-chance-of-conviction-in-2009-alberta-stage-collapse-crown/100843527 and http://employment.alberta.ca/SFW/6751.html