An inquest has heard that a stuntman was fatally shot at close range by an untested “prop gun” on a music video set in 2017.
A Brisbane court has heard that an illegally modified “live” shotgun loaded with “unlawful ammunition” was never test-fired before stuntman Johann Ofner was fatally shot during the production of a Bliss N Eso music video in 2017.
Ofner was shot at close range with a sawn-off shotgun that was mistaken for a prop.
“The shortened shotgun was a live-fire, Category H weapon and should not have been brought on set,” said investigating officer Detective Sergeant John Fleming.
“There were a number of offences identified during the investigation… including the unlawful manufacture of the ammunition.”
It was part of other replica automatic weapons and was reportedly loaded with homemade “blank” shotgun shells when a projectile from the cartridge pierced Ofner’s chest.
The cartridges were manufactured by an employee of a Brisbane gun shop, Adam Corless, who claims he was unaware they were being used for production.
“I wouldn’t have made them. It needs to be treated as though it is normal ammunition,” he said.
DS Fleming said armourer Warren Ritchie had been hired by production company Dreamers Creative Agency to supply the weapons.
Ritchie, who has since passed away, was responsible for loading and unloading the firearms.
According to DS Fleming, Corless was not licensed to manufacture ammunition.
Bliss N Eso should be held as criminally negligent in regard to the death of stuntman Johann Ofner. By cutting corners and wanting to wrap up the video shoot asap, it clearly resulted in safety being compromised on-set. #BlissNEso #JohannOfner #Safety #Shotgun #Death #Negligence
— Tree of Knowledge (@TreeofKnowled14) August 24, 2021
The inquest heard calls for an overhaul of the entertainment industry’s firearm and safety restrictions.
“Possibly there needs to be a more stringent overview of the industry – there did not appear to be any checks done to see that they were complying with legislation,” said DS Fleming.
Stunt coordinator Judd Wild backed the calls for a safety overhaul but said he believed the set was safe.
“If I thought there was any risk of him being struck by a projectile we wouldn’t have done the scene, full stop,” he said.
“If I knew anything would have been coming towards [Ofner] I would have said no.”
Inquest findings are expected in November.
— Muzzpol (@Muzzpol) January 23, 2017