Officer allegedly obtained money in exchange for not making an arrest
Suspended Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Constable Elvis Kelsey Ebanks appeared in Summary Court on Monday to face four charges brought under The Anti-Corruption Law after he allegedly received money in exchange for not arresting a foreign national.
The charges can be dealt with only in Grand Court and Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn set Friday, 30 November, as the date for Ebanks’ next appearance.
He faces two charges relating to incidents occurring on two separate days. The charges are corruptly obtaining money for himself with the intent to interfere with the administration of justice; and, in connection with the duties of his office, committing a breach of trust by corruptly obtaining money for himself.
Defence attorney Michael Wingrave said the offences were denied. He indicated that Ebanks had received a letter that morning informing him of his suspension from duty.
Crown Counsel Laura Manson said the matter began with a cell phone. It was not clear whether the phone was lost or stolen, but the foreign national came into possession of it and began using it as if it were his own. As a result of his use, the true owner was made aware of who had the phone.
On 10 November, Ebanks went to the workplace of the man who had the phone and confronted him. The man readily handed it over and the phone was returned to its owner.
Ebanks then allegedly placed the man in the back of the vehicle he was driving, but without arresting him. The Crown’s case was that Ebanks then drove the man around in an attempt to intimidate him, telling him he could go to jail for 10 years for what he had done, but said he would not arrest the man if the man paid him money.
The man allegedly handed over United States and Cayman Islands currency totalling about $140. Ebanks reportedly took it from him, but said he would take the man to the station unless he paid more money. After negotiation, the sum of $500 was agreed. The officer said he would contact the man about collecting the money. He then dropped off the man, who subsequently contacted police and gave his account.
When Ebanks phoned the man on 14 November, the call was recorded. The meeting was arranged at Countryside Shopping Village. After money was handed over in a carrier bag, Ebanks drove out of the complex and was blocked by two police vehicles.
There was a slight struggle, after which the bag was found on the road. Ms Manson said the money was found in the car.
When arrested and cautioned, Ebanks made no reply. On the way to the police station, however, he was quoted as saying, “I’ve done nothing wrong. I just borrowed the money.”
Ms Manson said the foreign national, referred to as the complainant or victim, was frightened and felt vulnerable because he was new to Cayman and on work permit.
She asked the court to direct that Ebanks not contact any prosecution witnesses, along with other conditions.
Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn agreed with them and added a requirement that Ebanks hand over his passport and not leave Grand Cayman.
Under the Anti-Corruption Law, the maximum sentence on conviction for the breach of trust charge is five years imprisonment. The maximum sentence on conviction for intending to interfere with the administration of justice is 14 years.
The Crown’s case was that Ebanks then drove the man around in an attempt to intimidate him, telling him he could go to jail for 10 years for what he had done, but said he would not arrest the man if the man paid him money.