Carpenter accused of injuring co-worker with nailgun says nail ricocheted

The carpenter accused of shooting a nail gun at a co-worker and injuring him told a Nova Scotia court today that the incident was an accident. 

Shawn Wade Hynes of Trenton, N.S., has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault with a weapon and criminal negligence causing bodily harm. The charges relate to an incident on Sept. 19, 2018, at a work site in Abercrombie, N.S.

On Tuesday, 22-year-old Nhlanhla Dlamini told the court that he was shot while running away from Hynes, who was allegedly pointing a nail gun at him with the safety off.

At the time, Dlamini was working as an apprentice carpenter at P.Q. Properties for owner Paul Quinn.

On Wednesday, defence witness Dan Clark, an employee of P.Q. Properties, said the incident was caused by a ricocheting nail.

Hynes testified on Thursday in Pictou provincial court that the wood he was nailing was cold and wet and that can make nail guns slip. Hynes told the court that the nail that hit Dlamini ricocheted off the wood. 

He also denied calling Dlamini names or swearing at him. 

Dlamini was not in court Thursday, although members of his family were.

Both the prosecution and the defence gave their closing remarks Thursday. The judge is expected to deliver a decision on Sept. 26 in Pictou provincial court.

Robert Short/CBC

Dlamini, the only black worker on the crew, testified earlier this week he got along with the other workers on the job.

He said he avoided Hynes after a conversation he characterized as "weird." Dlamini said Hynes told him while smiling that he "hated everyone equally."

He told court the crew nicknamed him Squiggy. In a past interview with CBC, Dlamini said he was called "Squigger", which he came to learn was a racial slur.

In a process that's separate from the criminal trial, Dlamini reached a Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission settlement with P.Q. Properties and Quinn over racial discrimination in the workplace.