Trenton man sentenced to house arrest for 18 months in nail gun shooting

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Shawn Wade Hynes of Trenton, N.S., walks into his sentencing hearing in Pictou County provincial court on Thursday Feb 6, 2020.  (Steve Lawrence/CBC - image credit)
Shawn Wade Hynes of Trenton, N.S., walks into his sentencing hearing in Pictou County provincial court on Thursday Feb 6, 2020. (Steve Lawrence/CBC - image credit)

A Trenton, N.S., man has been sentenced to 18 months of house arrest for shooting a co-worker in the back with a nail gun.

Shawn Wade Hynes, 45, was sentenced in Nova Scotia provincial court Friday morning.

He shot Nhlanhla Dlamini with a framing nailer at a construction site in Abercrombie, N.S., on Sept. 19, 2018.

Dlamini suffered a punctured lung. He spent four days in hospital and a month off work because of his wound.

Hynes was convicted of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon following a trial in September 2019.

Sentencing delayed several times

Sentencing has been delayed multiple times. The first was to allow victim impact statements to be filed, the second was because of the pandemic and the third was for constitutional arguments advanced by lawyers during sentencing.

Hynes's lawyer had been asking for a suspended sentence and probation. The Crown sought a jail sentence of between 12 and 18 months.

Judge Del Atwood rejected the defence proposal, saying a custodial sentence was necessary to denounce what Hynes did.

"I find that imprisonment is required in this case," the judge said in his sentencing decision.

"NH is black. The history of anti-Black discrimination in Nova Scotia is a historic fact, which is continuing. Discrimination and intimidation of racialized and marginalized persons will occur in many locations, including workplaces and it happened to NH."

Judge notes interest in African Nova Scotian community

Throughout his nearly hour-long sentencing, Atwood referred to Diamini by the initials NH, saying that's how the victim asked to be addressed during the trial.

Because of public interest in the case, Atwood's decision was live streamed on the Courts of Nova Scotia website.

He took note of the intense interest in the community, especially among African Nova Scotians, about this case.

"There is a strong need for the denunciation of workplace violence, motivated by implicit bias. Violence of this nature in the workplace operates to perpetuate structures of inequality and access to employment for communities that have experienced generations of formal and informal discrimination," Atwood said.

"It can lead to and in this case led to, loss of employment. Or, if not a total loss, underemployment."

Because Diamini was off the job for a month, the judge ordered Hynes to pay his victim $2,080, the amount of wages he lost.

Hynes has also given a DNA sample and is banned from owning or possessing weapons.

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