Sea Tragedy

Boat operator gets a three-year ban

COURT TODAY BLOCKA boat operator was yesterday handed a three-year suspended sentence, after he was found guilty of the July 13, 2006 killing of a fisherman off Crab Hill, St Lucy.

The victim, 81-one-year-old Hazel Hinds, also of Crab Hill, died after his small ‘Moses’ boat was hit by a larger vessel, steered by 50-year-old Martin Junior Husbands.

Court testimony revealed that Husbands, who was operating the boat owned by Richard “Big Joe” Symmonds on that fateful day, had jumped into water to try and save the elderly fisherman when he saw him “going down”.

However, Husbands was ordered today by Justice Margaret Reifer to perform 240 hours of community service within the next six months and to be enrolled in a drug rehabilitation and drug-counselling programme to be determined by the Probation Department and approved by the Court.

Reifer also ordered that Husbands must not pilot any vessel within the jurisdiction for the next three years.

In handing down the sentence, the judge credited Husbands for attempting to save Hinds’ life. However, she said that effort “had been eroded by his subsequent behaviour and attitude”.

She noted that Husbands had neither taken responsibility nor accepted culpability for the incident. The judge also acknowledged that no remorse had been shown by him towards the victim’s family.

In this regard, the judge took exception to Husbands’ admission to a probation officer that he felt “unfaired” in having to answer a charge. The accused man had also reportedly said that if he sees another person in the sea struggling again, he would not seek to help them.

The judge also questioned Husbands’ insistence that he was vigilant on the day of the incident based on his own testimony that he only saw the smaller boat after he felt the impact.

She ruled that even though there had been no evidence to suggest that Husbands had been under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident, his cocaine use had to be addressed.

In rendering her judgement, she also took into consideration the fact that the convicted man had had no prior accidents at sea.

During the trial, pathologist Dr Stephen Jones said that Hinds died from a broken neck and even though he saw no external injuries when he carried out the post-mortem, he later found injury to the spinal column and cord. There was a separation of the bones in one area of the spine as well as a fracture.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Donna Babb-Agard, QC, represented the Crown, in association with Crown Counsel Krystal Delaney.

Husbands was represented by attorneys-at-law Gregory Nicholls and Oliver Thomas during the trial.

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