By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
FOUR C’s Adventures owner and one of his captains will stand trial in 2020 over allegations of negligence in the fatal tour boat explosion last year.
Clayton Smith and Roderick Watson, both of Stuart Manor, Exuma, will stand trial before Justice Carolita Bethel on either on February 3 or September 7 of next year, charged with one count each of manslaughter by negligence and nine counts of causing negligent harm concerning the deadly explosion in waters off Barraterre, Exuma, on June 30, last year.
February 3 has been set down as a potential date for the trial if the date is vacated by other matters currently logged on Justice Bethel’s case calendar.
If not, the trial will commence on September 7, 2020. A case management hearing has been set for April 15 of this year.
Bail arrangements for both men are to continue as previously set.
Last month, the pair pleaded not guilty to all charges when formally arraigned before Justice Turner. It is alleged the pair’s negligence caused the death of Tennessee native Maleka Johnson, and also negligently caused harm to her husband of 15 years, Tiran Jackson, who had to have one of his legs amputated.
Similarly, the pair was accused of negligently causing harm to 22-year-old Vermont-native Stephanie Schaffer, who had to have both of her legs amputated. Smith and Watson are further alleged to have caused negligent harm to Stephanie Schaffer’s sister, Brooke Schaffer, her mother, Stacey Bender, and Paul Bender, her mother’s husband.
Smith and Watson are also alleged to have negligently caused harm to John Inman, Sheila Jones, Haiden Jones and Kyle Ackerman.
Shortly after 9am on June 30 last year, the 40ft chartered tour boat was travelling in waters off Barraterre, Exuma, with ten tourists and two Bahamians on board, when an engine exploded, causing the boat to catch fire.
The ten people on board the vessel were injured and taken to the mini hospital in George Town. One of those injured, Mrs Jackson, died of her injuries, while several others were airlifted for further medical treatment.