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Seeking justice for Nhlanhla Dlamini

After the verdict. Stacey Dlamini (Nhlanhla’s mother). Raymond Sheppard, Angela Bowden, Buhle Dlamini (Nhlanhla’s father). Photo Robert Devet, September 26, 2019

It’s been 2.5 since a co-worker seriously injured Nhlanhla Dlamini with a nail gun, and 1.5 years since a guilty verdict was rendered, but the man found guilty still has not been sentenced.

Nhlanhla’s family and supporters ask that you email the following letter to the individuals mentioned here. There is also a change.org petition you can sign: https://www.change.org/p/justice-for-nhlanhla-dlamini

Feb 28, 2021


The Honourable Ian Rankin, Premier of the Province of NS, PREMIER@novascotia.ca

Justice Pam Williams, Chief Judge of the Provincial Court, DartmouthProvincialCourt@courts.ns.ca 

Judge Del Atwood, Pictou Provincial Court, Pictoucourt@courts.ns.ca 

Martin Herschorn, Director of Public Prosecution, martin.herschorn@novascotia.ca

Chris Hansen, Communications & Media, Public Prosecution Service, chris.hansen@novascotia.ca

Re: Justice for Nhlanhla Dlamini

Over two and a half (2.5) years ago, on September 19th 2018, Nhlanhla Dlamini, a then-21-year-old Black man, was shot in the back with a 3 ¼ inch nail by a co-worker at PQ Properties Ltd., Shawn Wade Hynes. Mr. Dlamini has alleged that the attack was racially motivated and occurred after weeks of race-based bullying by Mr. Hynes. Although Mr. Dlamini’s employer did not call an ambulance or seek medical attention on his behalf, the attack resulted in a collapsed lung for Mr. Dlamini that required immediate surgery and 4 days in hospital. His doctor told him he will never regain complete functionality of the injured lung.  

Initially a charge of “Criminal Negligence Resulting in Bodily Harm” was laid against Mr. Hynes, and after public outcry, a second charge, “Assault with a Weapon” was added. The ensuing trial lasted for one year, and on September 26th 2019, a guilty verdict was rendered on both counts. 

Sentencing was meant to be delivered on November 15th 2019, but was reserved so that Judge Del Atwood could study the verdict delivered in another precedent-setting case in which the Community was permitted to submit a Victim Impact Statement. He also wanted to know Mr. Dlamini’s wishes with regard to Restorative Justice. Sentencing was put off until February 2020, but was delayed until March 2020 at which point COVID-19 hit and the courts shut down. 

It has now been 1.5 years since a guilty verdict was rendered against Mr. Hynes, and sentencing has not yet taken place. In total, there have been at least 7 postponements and at this point, we don’t have a new date for sentencing.  

This is unacceptable to Mr. Dlamini, his family, his community, and to all who seek justice in this case. The response, or lack thereof, and delayed timelines present to uphold the narrative that in Nova Scotia, Black lives do NOT matter. 

We also wish to note that for the perpetrator of this crime, nothing has changed. He remains free and in the employ of PQ Properties Ltd. and has never experienced any consequences for the violent act he committed against Mr. Dlamini. 

Victim Services says that the Judge is waiting on information that he wishes to review before rendering a sentence, in order to reduce the likelihood of the sentence being appealed. While we appreciate the care and consideration that Judge Atwood is putting into this decision, we still maintain that 1.5 years is too long to wait for a sentence to be delivered. The trial itself did not last that long. 

Therefore, we urge all parties to ensure that the next time a date is set for the sentencing of Shawn Wade Hynes in the shooting of Nhlanhla Dlamini, this date will be honoured and an appropriate sentence to the crime be delivered. We trust that enough time has elapsed for Judge Atwood to be able to study the decisions that will inform the delivery of the sentence. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Though the Dlamini family and other supporters would wish to attend the sentencing in person, from the perspective of the Dlamini family this is not imperative. They have communicated that they do not wish for COVID restrictions to be a reason why sentencing is once again delayed. 

We are tired of waiting. Justice must be served, and must be seen to be served. 


Note: On March 16, 2021 PQ properties informed the Nova Scotia Advocate that it no longer employs Wayne Hynes.

See also: Assailant of Nhlanhla Dlamini found guilty of criminal negligence and assault with a weapon

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  1. No Justice, No Peace Until We All Live In Peace, This is a Violation of the Canadian Human Rights Act. This young man’s Human Rights have been Violated in the worse terrible way and while he was at his place of Employment and believe it or not this is where most racial acts are committed.

    They wait until you come too work and then start the Racism, whether it be Name Calling or Insults, Picking on you daily in the Workplace by talking down too you in front of other Co-Workers.

    This time a young man while at his place of Employment could have been seriously injured with a Nail Gun of all things. I would have been terrified if I experienced what this young man went through.

    Please make our Province Safe Honorable Premier Ian Rankin. Thanks for your attention into this very important matter.

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