Com­mu­nity im­pacted by nail-gun crime, ac­tivist says

Sen­tenc­ing for Shawn Wade Hynes ad­journed un­til March 18

Truro Daily News - - REGION - ADAM MACINNIS

PIC­TOU, N.S. – When New Glas­gow hu­man rights ac­tivist An­gela Bow­den first heard what hap­pened to Nh Dlamini, it trig­gered her to throw up.

“I be­gan to cry and I was ex­tremely an­gered,” she said. “I felt a loss of safety and fear for my black sons and my neph­ews and my cousins and my friend’s chil­dren and the list goes on.”

Dlamini was shot in the back with a nail gun at a Pic­tou County work­site on Sept. 19, 2018 by his co­worker, Shawn Wade Hynes. Hynes was found guilty of crim­i­nal neg­li­gence caus­ing bod­ily harm and as­sault with a weapon on Sept. 26, 2019.

Dlamini, who was hos­pi­tal­ized four days fol­low­ing the shoot­ing and had to have surgery to re­pair a par­tially col­lapsed lung, still lives with the ef­fects.

“He still feels it when he laughs too hard or breathes too deeply,” says his mother Stacey Dlamini.

Bow­den says it’d be im­pos­si­ble to mea­sure the im­pact of Hynes’s ac­tions on the com­mu­nity be­cause it was so far reach­ing.

“What must be ac­knowl­edged, how­ever, is that the im­pact was deep, and wounded so many, emo­tion­ally and psy­cho­log­i­cally,” Bow­den told those in the Pic­tou Court Feb. 26. “It stretched beyond the nail in Nh’s back and it punc­tured many of our hearts.”

The sen­tenc­ing hear­ing for Hynes be­gan Feb. 26, but has been ad­journed un­til March 18, to al­low Judge Del At­wood to read a writ­ten de­ci­sion that’s ex­pected to be re­leased in a re­lated case.

Crown pros­e­cu­tor Bill Gor­man said he be­lieves Hynes should have to spend time in prison. He rec­om­mended a pe­riod of 12 to 15 months in­car­cer­a­tion, fol­lowed by 15 to 18 months of pro­ba­tion.

Hynes’s de­fence lawyer, An­drew O’ble­nis, how­ever, ar­gued that given Hynes has no crim­i­nal record and based on the ap­prox­i­mately 20 let­ters writ­ten in sup­port of his char­ac­ter, that a pe­riod of pro­ba­tion would be suf­fi­cient pun­ish­ment. O’ble­nis noted Hynes has been sub­jected to many threats through so­cial me­dia and has feared for his own safety since the charges were first laid.

Hynes of­fered an apol­ogy in court, say­ing, “Al­though Nh him­self is not here, I’d like to say I’m sorry for any­thing he suf­fered and this sit­u­a­tion has caused him or the black com­mu­nity.”

Dlamini’s fam­ily and those who have been at­tend­ing the trial will be watch­ing to see what role com­mu­nity im­pact state­ments play in the sen­tenc­ing.

Stacey Dlamini said it ap­pears the role of com­mu­nity im­pact state­ments is rel­a­tively new in Nova Sco­tia’s ju­di­cial sys­tem, but some­thing she feels is im­por­tant.

“I think it’s won­der­ful be­cause it’s a recog­ni­tion of the fact that crime does not only im­pact the vic­tim and their im­me­di­ate fam­ily; crime im­pacts the com­mu­nity.”

In­ci­dents such as what hap­pened to her son cause trau­mas that oth­ers have ex­pe­ri­enced, to resur­face, she said.

“Cog­nizance of that fact is im­por­tant I think for us as a prov­ince in terms of the heal­ing that needs to take place be­tween di­verse pop­u­la­tions in Nova Sco­tia.”

ADAM MACINNIS/THE NEWS

Stacey and Buhle Dlamini be­lieve it’s im­por­tant that com­mu­nity im­pact state­ments be con­sid­ered as part of the sen­tenc­ing for the man who shot their son Nh with a nail­gun.

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