Though Limp Bizkit weren't found to be at fault for the death of a teenager crushed at a concert last year, they could've been more helpful in efforts to aid the girl, an Australian court said Friday.
At a coroner's inquest in Sydney, Australia, coroner Jacqueline Milledge exonerated the band in the death of 15-year-old Jessica Michalik, who suffered a heart attack at the 2001 Big Day Out tour stop there, the Australian Associated Press reported. While she didn't find the band liable, Milledge said Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst should have acted more responsibly when it became apparent there was a problem in the pit.
"I accept that it may have been difficult for him to stop because of the intensity of his performing," the news service quoted Milledge as saying. "However, it is very clear that his words were inflammatory and indeed insulting to the security staff who were engaged in their best efforts to extricate crucially injured patrons from the crowd collapse."
The security practices employed by festival organizers Creative Entertainment Australia bore the brunt of the blame. After viewing videotapes and hearing witness testimony, Milledge said it was evident that the density of the crowd was dangerous at the time Limp Bizkit took the stage.
"There appears to be a reluctance on the part of the promoters and [security] to accept that the situation on that day was completely unacceptable. It is obvious to everyone who views the videotape that people are being squashed and jostled and at times are fighting for survival — a fight Jessica Michalik lost."
Although the judge's decision favored the Limp Bizkit camp, they weren't exactly celebrating. "No one is a winner in a court case where a young girl has lost her life," Durst said in a statement. "This has been a terrible tragedy."
After the hearing, Big Day Out organizer Vivian Lees said Limp Bizkit would never again be invited to perform at the festival, according to AAP.
The inquest began a year ago, and in the hearings that followed, some witness testimony pointed fingers at Limp Bizkit and the statements Fred Durst made from the stage. The Bizkit camp maintained that inadequate security was responsible for the death (see "Fred Dust Tells Aussie Court He Warned Fest Promoter").
A coroner's inquest is held when the details of a death, such as the factors that contributed to it, aren't completely clear. It does not determine criminal liability, but civil suits may result. Durst was questioned by police in July 2001, but they did not have sufficient evidence to warrant an arrest.