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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