Even though Richard “Big Joe” Symmonds was on the boat which slammed into another one back in 2006, he did not see the collision.
According to his testimony in the No. 2 Supreme Court today, that was because he was in the back of his boat cutting up bait at the time the collision occured.
The witness said he heard a noise and when he came forward, he saw a damaged moses (small fishing boat) with one man in it and another in the water swimming.
Symmonds, a fisherman, said he knew both men. The one inside the boat was Roy “Monarch” Hinds while the one in the sea was Hazel Hinds, the deceased in the case now before the court.
Symmonds’ evidence was given before Justice Margaret Reifer, in a trial where Martin Junior Husbands is accused of unlawfully killing Hazel Hinds on July 13, 2006, within the territorial waters of Barbados.
Husbands, a 49-year-old fish cleaner, has pleaded not guilty to the count of manslaughter. Hinds allegedly died after a boat owned by Symmonds but steered by Husbands, struck the one Hinds was in, off Crab Hill, St Lucy. The deceased fisherman was from that same address.
Recalling the events of that fateful day, Symmonds said he and Husbands went fishing together. When he heard the collision, he came out to see his colleague still steering. He moved him out of the way and began pulling on a rope which he saw attached to the moses and which he used to pull the smaller boat towards his. That was when he noticed one man (Roy Hinds) holding on to the side of the moses and Hazel Hinds in the water swimming, some yards away.
Symmonds said he sought to reverse the boat so that he could get to Hinds, but the rope got caught in the propeller. Husbands then jumped in and cut the rope to free up the propeller. By then, Hinds was “going down” so he pulled Roy Hinds on to his boat while Husbands went toward Hazel Hinds.
The witness recalled that the day was fine but that part of the sea at Crab Hill was “choppy and rough” as usual.
In response to a question from Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Donna Babb-Agard QC, Symmonds said it was not the first time Husbands had steered his boat. He also remembered that Hinds was still alive when he was brought on board because he groaned and opened his eyes as he and the accused tried to revive him. He also said Hinds never spoke during that time.
Symmonds said they sailed to Half Moon Fort as fast as they could with the moses in tow. He also tried calling the Coast Guard, he recalled.
Asked when he last went fishing with the accused, Symmonds said about three years ago but added that he saw Husbands whenever he went to Six Mens, St Peter. The last occasion was on Tuesday, he said, and he spoke to Husbands then.
Attorneys-at-law Gregory Nicholls and Oliver Thomas are defending Husbands. Crown Counsel Krystal Delaney is also appearing on behalf of the Crown.