NEW GLASGOW, N.S. - The owner of a Pictou County construction company has been receiving hateful emails and social media posts since a story broke Oct. 3 about an alleged nail gun shooting at a construction site.
Paul Quinn, owner of P.Q. Properties Ltd, has “received emails and posts from across Canada, calling him racist pig,” says attorney Craig Clarke.
According to Clarke, the messages started after CBC posted an online story about Nhlanhla Dlamini, 21, who told CBC he was working at the site of a new home in Abercrombie when his co-worker pulled back the safety on the air-powered tool, aimed it at him, and waited for him to start running before firing at him.
“So, it’s been very tough on him,” Clarke told NGNews.ca on Oct. 4. Paul Quinn owns the company but is not the man accused of firing the nail gun.
According to the report by the CBC, on the day of the incident, Dlamini, who is black, said his co-worker accused him of working too slowly before threatening him with the nail gun.
A 43-year-old employee at P.Q. Properties was arrested Sept. 27 and is facing a charge of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, but police said the charges have not been laid yet. His name has not been released.
“The accused has been arrested, interviewed and released from custody,” said Pictou County RCMP Cpl. Ron Bryce.
He said on Oct. 4 that charges have not been laid yet.
The incident was reported to police on Sept. 19.
“As far as we know, it was a dispute between two workers at the construction site,” he said.
Bryce said police do not anticipate any charges to be hate crime related at this time.
Stacey Dlamini, the mother of Nhlanhla Dlamini, said Oct. 4 that she and her son “are not trying to attack Mr. Quinn, “but as an employer, you have a responsibility to maintain a safe working environment.”
She added that the company, when preparing an incident report, had not tried to contact her son since the alleged incident “to hear my son’s version of the events.”
She said her son required emergency surgery on a collapsed lung and spent four days in the hospital with a chest tube as a result of the injury.
Clarke, a lawyer with Stellarton-based MacIsaac, Clarke & Duffy, is not representing the accused. He said it’s unfortunate that we’ve entered an era where a person is presumed guilty, and can be vilified through social media without due process.
“It’s patently unfair that Paul is being attacked (on social media) as being racist,” said Clarke, adding this client fears that his business will be harmed by the allegation.
“Doesn’t anybody care about due process?”
The News tried to reach out to Dlamini, but he did not immediately respond to an interview request.