Defilement sentence upheld

Six years imprisonment was not an excessive sentence for the offence of defilement, the Court of Appeal indicated last week.

John Gordon Ebanks, 38, was appealing the sentence that was handed down after he pleaded guilty in Grand Court to two counts (Caymanian Compass, 20 October).

Ebanks, who was not represented in his appeal, asked the court for mercy. He said he did not know the girl’s age because of her size: she weighed about 190 pounds and was taller than he was.

Court president Mr. Justice Edward Zacca pointed out that Ebanks had been warned of the girl’s age by her parents before any acts took place.

The appellant replied that the girl had come to his house and had encouraged him.

The judge reminded Ebanks that he was a big man and had a previous conviction for defilement, ‘so you knew what you were getting into. But you were tempted and took advantage.’

The appellant’s previous conviction was in 1991, when he was 23. His sentence then was a fine of $1,500. The judge asked why. Ebanks indicated that the girl’s mother had come to court and begged for him.

The judge also emphasised that defilement is a very prevalent offence in the Cayman Islands. The Penal Code had been amended to provide for a new maximum sentence of 12 years for defilement of a girl under 16 but not under 12.

After consulting with Mr. Justice Martin Taylor and Mr. Justice Elliott Mottley, the president said the court was satisfied that six years was well within the range of sentences that should be imposed for this type of offence.

‘I never approach her,’ Ebanks told the court. ‘She picked me out.’

‘The appeal is dismissed,’ Mr. Justice Zacca stated.