2 in court for child’s rape

Two men were remanded in custody after appearing in Summary Court on Monday afternoon for the rape of a girl who is now five years old.

Kent Robert Ebanks, 52, is charged with three counts. Marden Hernandez-Kirkconnell, 26, is charged with one count.

The Caymanian Compass, as a matter of policy, does not publish the names of defendants in sex-related cases unless or until they are convicted, and sometimes not then if their identification would lead to the identity of the victim.

In this instance, however, the police have released the men’s names to all media.

On Monday, Crown Counsel Elisabeth Lees objected to bail for both men.

She also explained that a video statement had been recorded from the child. Ms Lees said the video was being copied and transcripts made. She hoped to have them available for defence attorneys by the next day.

Defence Attorney Edward Renvoize also pointed out that the two men were accused of abusing the same child, but the charges showed different time frames. The men were charged separately and appeared together in court that day only for convenience.

He also pointed out that Martinez-Kirkconnell had turned himself in to police because he was concerned about a photo being circulated around the island with an accusation of child rape. A man who turns himself in like that would not fail to surrender to the court if given bail, Mr. Renvoize said.

Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale said if she were to consider bail it would have to be with the defendant having a specific address; she could not release him to the community at large. Asked for a specific ruling on bail, she replied, ‘I’m refusing.’

Attorney Lloyd Samson then spoke on behalf of Ebanks and told the court threats had been made to his safety.

Mr. Renvoize said his client had also been threatened.

The magistrate pointed out that the state’s responsibility is to ensure the defendants’ safety. The best place for making appropriate arrangements is Northward Prison, she said. She had heard of the danger because of the speculation and the photo being circulated.

Ms Lees suggested that the police officer in the case could speak with the Director of Prisons ‘and make sure he does everything he can’.

The men were scheduled to appear in court again on 4 November.