IIRC the novelization even notes that Kirk's caught off-guard by the transporter controls having been reconfigured. He's not explicitly blamed for the situation, but there's a suggestion that he didn't make things any better either.
Please let's not bring the novel into this. Then you have to make Kirk's girlfriend Lori (Lori?
Really?) one of the victims, which puts a whole new slant on who is responsible for her death. (Perhaps he secretly wanted her dead, and poor Sonak was just collateral damage.).
I take a look about that on Memory-Alpha...ILLOGICAL...Kirk doesn't date older women (she's vice-admiral).