Limp Bizkit Fan Death Inquest Rests; Durst Testimony Allowed

Coroner agrees to hear frontman's side of story via video in June.

The coroner's inquest into the role Limp Bizkit may have played in the death of 15-year-old Jessica Michalik, who died after sustaining injuries in the crowd at the Big Day Out festival in Sydney, Australia, last year, rested Friday, but not before the court heard a week's worth of testimony from those who claimed insufficient security was responsible for the tragedy.

Alexander Murdoch MacLeod, Limp Bizkit's tour manager, told the Glebe Coroner's Court Friday that he thought the safety of the crowd was in jeopardy even before the band took the stage on January 26, 2001, according to the Australian Associated Press. A 15-page statement presented to the court criticized the security measures and staff employed by tour organizers and accused them of compromising the safety of the crowd to cut costs. An additional security barricade, specifically a "T-barrier," he said, could have prevented the crowd collapse, which prompted Michalik to suffer a heart attack during Limp Bizkit's set. She died in a hospital five days later (see "Teen Who Had Heart Attack In Limp Bizkit Pit Dies").

Evidence was also presented that Limp Bizkit had wanted a T-barrier used at the show and that their request was denied by organizers Creative Entertainment Australia. Earlier in the week, Andrew Tatrai, a former security consultant for the Big Day Out, testified that he also asked for ramped-up security in 1995-96 and was denied by organizers.

However, after a videotape of Limp Bizkit's performance, in which they're seen halting their set when the problem became apparent, was shown to the court, coroner Jacquie Milledge asked Tatrai if the band should have done more to help the situation. Tatrai replied that they "should assume some responsibility for assisting."

When the inquest began in November (see "Limp Bizkit At Center Of Investigation Into Australian Fan's Death"), testimony by safety expert Michael Upton refuted the effectiveness of a T-barrier at this particular show and blamed the band for inciting the crowd and not stopping their performance soon enough.

After the first round of the inquest came to an end in December, frontman Fred Durst vowed to cooperate with the court's request for his testimony when it resumed (see "Limp Bizkit Pledge Cooperation In Probe Of Fan's Death"). However, in February, he offered to appear via video teleconferencing, rather than in person, which drew the ire of promoter Mark Dean, who said such testimony was not subject to perjury laws (see "Fred Durst Refuses To Testify In-Person About Fan Death").

Milledge nevertheless allowed to hear Durst's remote testimony and is scheduled to do so June 17-19. The third round of inquest begins June 6.