Kimberly Ebanks was given a suspended prison sentence for putting a household
cleaner and disinfectant in a bottle of apple juice intended for a man she
now 22, pleaded guilty to attempting unlawfully to cause the man to take a
poison or noxious thing, namely Pine-Sol, with intent to annoy or harm him, endanger
his life or inflict grievous bodily harm in September 2008. Pine-Sol is a
household cleaner and disinfectant.
Attorney Margeta Facey-Clarke said Ms Ebanks knew the man would not drink the
tainted apple juice because as soon as he opened the bottle it would not smell
right. The act, which Ebanks said she regretted, was intended to “send him a
Charles Quin said it was a serious offence. “Her optimism that he would not
drink it might have been displaced. Who knows what would have happened if he
had drunk it?” the judge said.
Crown Counsel Trevor Ward set out the background to the offence, but Ms
Facey-Clarke offered a different version of events.
Ward said Ms Ebanks and the man met at a social event in 2008 and started to
associate. About five months later he learned that she had no place to stay, so
he invited her to stay with him temporarily.
of her personal habits – such as staying out late or bringing pets to the home
– began to annoy him, and he told her she would have to leave. When he came
home from work, she had packed but told him she had nowhere to go. He said he
would not put her out on the street and she could stay another night.
after she left, he went to the refrigerator to get a drink of apple juice. As
he put the bottle to his mouth he detected a strong odour. He felt a burning
sensation in his eyes and nose and became nauseated.
five minutes later, he called her and asked what she had put in his apple
juice. She said nothing, but when pressed she told him two people had helped
her move and anything could have happened.
he asked why, her reply was, “So what? That was a warning. You’re not stupid.
That was a warning for disrespecting me.”
man sought medical attention. The juice was analysed and found to be
adulterated with Pine-Sol.
Ward told the court he had not found any local cases of this offence. Even in
the UK such cases were relatively rare; courts treated them as assaults causing
actual bodily harm. He acknowledged that Ms Ebanks’ offence would seem to be at
the lower end of the scale. The judge agreed there was a vast difference
between giving someone an unpleasant toxic substance with intent to annoy and
giving someone poison in an attempt to endanger life.
Facey-Clarke emphasised that there was no relationship between Ms Ebanks and
the man. It was not that she didn’t have a place to live -she could have gone
back to her family at any time, Ms Facey-Clarke said.
Ebanks had left home and got her own apartment. The man told her she didn’t
have to have all the related expenses; she could stay with him and be a model
for his business. Then he started “coming on to her”, and she became
disappointed. She had since learned from other women that he had done that
attorney submitted a medical report showing that Ms Ebanks’ pancreas had been
removed when she was 16, and that without medication, her blood sugar was
erratic and could significantly affect her ability to carry out normal
functioning. Ms Facey-Clarke also handed up reference letters speaking to Ms
Ebanks’ good character.
passing sentence, Justice Quin referred to a probation officer’s report, saying
that Ms Ebanks had been very frank with the officer who, in turn, had written a
helpful report. He accepted from it that Ms Ebanks had been naive and her act
had been carried out with little thought. The man may have been attempting to
take advantage of her, the judge said.
judge took into account Ms Ebanks’ guilty plea, previous good character and
genuine remorse. He said he felt he had to impose a sentence of six months
imprisonment to reflect the gravity of the offence, but he would suspend it for
have great potential,” he told Ms Ebanks. “Put this behind you. Continue your
studies. I hope your health continues to improve.”
Penal Code provides a maximum sentence of 14 years on conviction for
maliciously administering a poison or any noxious substance. It also provides
that conviction for an attempt to commit an offence makes the offender liable
to the same sentence as for the offence itself.
Ebanks’ suspended sentence means she will not have to go to prison if she does
not re-offend in the next two years.