Sentencing has been postponed for a West Bay man who admitted burgling his father’s house and then robbing him to buy cocaine.
Durney Ebanks, 41, pleaded guilty on Friday to burglary and robbery. Justice Priya Levers adjourned sentence until 31 August, remanding Ebanks in custody until then.
She said she could not release him into the community because his behaviour was so bad, but she did not want to put him in prison and forget him. The judge ordered that a drug counsellor assess Ebanks’ suitability for an intensive supervision programme.
Crown Counsel George Keightley presented the facts. He said the senior Mr. Ebanks is 83 and lives in a small cottage in the same yard as his daughter’s house.
On the morning of 1 February, Mr. Ebanks and his daughter went to visit a relative. Before leaving he locked his doors and windows.
When he returned around 5.45pm, he saw his son coming from behind the house. Durney told him, ‘I want money’ and the father handed him four $1 bills.
Durney said, ‘That’s not enough’ and picked up several medium-size rocks. Mr. Ebanks believed he would be struck, so he gave Durney $25.
Durney said that was what he wanted to buy a hit of cocaine. He then got on his bicycle and left.
Mr. Ebanks spent some time at his daughter’s before going to his own home. When he arrived, he saw that papers had been scattered around and his radio was missing from his bedroom. Coins were also missing, about $15 worth.
Mr. Keightley said the radio was especially important to Mr. Ebanks because it kept him company and he missed it enormously.
Durney was arrested several days later. He said he had broken into his father’s house because he wanted money for cocaine. He admitted both the burglary and the robbery. He told police he had intended to sell the radio, but it was stolen from him. He indicated he had also taken other items, including food.
Durney told the officers, ‘Once I get the urge, I will rob him blind.’
Durney’s record showed 29 previous convictions since 1989, including dishonesty, violence and drug consumption. He was sentenced to three years imprisonment in 1997 for robbery and seven years in 1999, also for robbery. His most recent sentence was eight months for indecent assault, imposed in August 2006.
‘What do we do with someone like that?’ the judge asked. Referring to the way this drug urge had impacted Durney’s life, she asked if he ever had treatment.
Mr. Keightley said his sentences were probation, community service and then prison terms, some of which were suspended.
Defence Attorney Ben Tonner agreed that Durney’s crimes were the direct result of chronic drug abuse. Durney was no significant threat to himself or others from a mental health point of view. Because of his crimes, he was not a candidate for Caribbean Haven, which is the residential treatment centre, and there is no other.
Mr. Tonner said there is an intensive supervised programme for people on probation. He did not know what programmes were available years ago when Durney first started going to court.
The judge said she had a job to do — to be as fair as she could to all parties. She did not want to release Durney, nor did she want to remand him and forget him. She said she would see what could be done to help him turn his life around.