EU court: Killer got fair trial

A Cayman Islands man convicted of murder has lost his
appeal based on a claim that he was denied his right to a fair trial in a local case that went before the European Court of Human Rights.

Kurt Ebanks is
serving a life sentence at Northward Prison for the 18 January, 2000 murder of
taxi driver Curtis Seymour.

Having lost his
appeal to the Privy Council in August 2006, Ebanks took his case to the ECHR in
Strasbourg,
using the right of individual petition.

Attorney General Samuel Bulgin said that this right of appeal was permanently
extended to the Cayman Islands on 23 February,
2006.

”This is of some significance because as far as I am aware, this was the
first time it has been used by an appellant from the Cayman
Islands,” Mr. Bulgin said.

The ECHR Court is
Cayman’s highest appeals tribunal in matters of human rights.

Ebanks’ petition against
the UK Government was filed by attorney Robin McMillan of the law firm Appleby,
while Mr. David Perry QC represented the UK Government.

Ebanks argued that his lawyers in the Grand
Court trial failed to properly defend him and
act according to his instructions. He also claimed that both the Cayman Islands
Court of Appeal and the Privy Council had failed to remedy that injustice.

He contended these
failures were a breach of his rights under Article 6 (1) in conjunction with
Article 6 (3) (c) of the EU Convention on Human Rights.

Article 6 (1) holds
that a person facing a criminal charge is entitled to a fair hearing by a
tribunal sitting to determine that charge. Article 6 (3) (c) ensures that
anyone charged with a criminal offence has the minimum rights of defence in
person or through legal assistance of choice, for which in the interests of
justice, he or she would be entitled to legal aid if unable to pay.

The seven judges
found that while Ebanks’ case was admissible to be heard, neither of these
rights had been violated and he had received a fair trial.

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