Allegation easy to make, difficult to refute, judge says
In a trial by judge alone this year, Justice Marva McDonald-Bishop found Leonard Antonio Ebanks not guilty of rape. Ebanks, 40, had been accused of having sexual intercourse with an adult male without his consent in early 2010.
From his first appearance in Summary Court, Ebanks said he told police where he was at the time of the alleged attack and the person he had been drinking with. He maintained that the charge against him was based on horrendous lies.
During his Grand Court trial, Ebanks gave evidence and raised his alibi. The judge pointed out it was for the prosecution to negative it.
She also pointed out that the allegation of rape is easy to make and difficult to refute.
In this case, the complainant provided a detailed account of what he said had happened and he denied inventing the allegation.
The judge noted that a medical examination failed to confirm any intrusion.
Police did find a piece of electrical cord at the scene that tested as having Ebanks’ DNA on it. However, Ebanks had acknowledged being at the scene on the previous night; there was nothing to show that he and the complainant had been at the location together. There was no other physical evidence, either – nothing to indicate sexual activity, even though the complainant said his attacker did not wear a condom, the judge summarised.
She noted that the men were known to each other and neither was a stranger to the court.
She wondered what motive the complainant would have to lie and subject himself to giving an account that could be degrading and humiliating.
Although there was nothing in law to say she could not rely on the complainant’s uncorroborated evidence, the judge emphasised it was open to her to convict only if she was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he was speaking the truth.
“I am simply not sure,” she said. That doubt was a reasonable one and had to be resolved in favour of the accused, she concluded. The Crown had failed to satisfy her to the requisite standard and her verdict was not guilty.
Ebanks was represented by Attorney Ben Tonner.
The Caymanian Compass does not ordinarily publish the names of people accused of sexual offences unless or until they have been convicted. However, a police press release was circulated shortly after Ebanks’ arrest and he was named in it.