Heavy metal singer Blythe cleared of manslaughter

Randy Blythe, photo: CTK

Randy Blythe, the singer for US band Lamb of God, was cleared of manslaughter on Tuesday by Prague’s Municipal Court, a charge related to the death of a young fan at the band’s show three years ago. According to a panel of three judges, the singer committed no crime and blame for the death largely lay elsewhere: with the show’s organisers.

Randy Blythe,  photo: CTK
Nineteen-year-old Daniel Nosek has been described as a big fan of US metal band Lamb of God, a band he traveled to see in Prague on May 24 2010, an evening that would prove fateful. At the concert, the youth, who, according to sources, was not under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, breached a security barrier and climbed onto the stage before being pushed off by Blythe and falling and hitting his head.

In his testimony the singer said he saw the young man get up and that surrounding fans had signalled he was ‘ok’. However, later in the evening the young man was rushed to hospital for emergency brain surgery. He slipped into a coma and died several weeks later. All the same, judges on Tuesday ruled that Mr Blythe’s actions constituted no crime, suggesting mistakes leading to the death were made primarily by the concert organisers. Judge Tomáš Kubovec:

“If steps stipulated in the [performers’] contract had been respected the incident would never have taken place.”

The judge was referring to lax crowd control at the concert as well as a stage barrier which was set up too close to the band. Evidence that Mr Nosek was not the only one to breach the barrier on the evening in question is video of another attendee climbing up. Had security been upheld, as the judge said, there would have been no contact – no altercation – between the heavy metal performer and anyone from the public. Even the uncle of the deceased admitted on Tuesday that the family did not think that fault lay “solely” with singer.

Randy Blythe,  photo: José Goulão,  Creative Commons 2.0 license
“From the testimony we heard today we don’t even think that he is entirely to blame.”

Frontman Randy Blythe had maintained that if he had felt responsible he would have admitted it and during his trial he always maintained he would not shy away from any consequences. In court on Tuesday, Mr Blythe offered the family of Daniel Nosek his condolences.

“Daniel was a fan of my band: I had no wish to harm him.”

Had he been found guilty he faced between five and 10 years in prison. That said, the state prosecutor on Tuesday immediately appealed the decision to a higher-instance court.