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Exuma Tour Operators Acquitted after 2018 Explosion

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The men involved in tour boat explosion that killed an American tourist and injured four others have been acquitted of all charges at the direction of the trial judge.

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NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The men involved in tour boat explosion that killed an American tourist and injured four others have been acquitted of all charges at the direction of the trial judge.

Clayton Patterson Smith, the owner of Four C’s Adventures, which organizes boat trips in the Exuma Cays, and his captain Roderick Watson, were accused of criminal negligence concerning the June 30, 2018 tragedy.

The open-hull catamaran caught fire within minutes of its departure.

Maleka Jackson, who was celebrating her 15th wedding anniversary with her husband, Tiran, died as a result.

Stephanie Schaffer, lost both legs, and her mother Stacy Bender and stepfather Paul Bender were also injured.

Prosecutors contended that the boat was constructed with inferior materials and was a “perfect bomb.”

However, Justice Jeanine Weech-Gomez found the prosecution had failed to prove its case against the men.

As a result, she instructed the foreperson to return not guilty verdicts on all charges.

Smith and Watson were accused of manslaughter by negligence concerning Jackson’s death. 

Watson alone was charged with negligently causing harm to the survivors of the explosion and Smith was accused negligently endangering the passengers due to the vessel’s poor construction.

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