House arrest in counterfeit currency case

A judge placed a woman convicted in a counterfeit currency case on house arrest for nine months. 

A term of imprisonment is usually imposed for offenses involving counterfeit currency, Justice Alexander Henderson commented last week, but he chose a different sentence for Shannon F. D. Ebanks, whom a jury convicted in December. 

He placed her on probation for two years and ordered her to remain in her residence for the first nine months, except Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. – the days defense attorney John Furniss said she had part-time employment.  

After the nine months of house arrest, Ebanks is to perform 120 hours of community service. 

In addition, she is to keep the peace and be of good behavior, take part in such counseling as her probation officer directs, and be subject to random drug testing. 

The jury found her guilty of possessing and uttering a forged $10 currency note at a bar in Bodden Town in February 2011. Ebanks was also found guilty of possessing three colored notes in the denomination of $25 and implements used to make forged documents. Police discovered the notes and implements during a search of her residence in August 2011. 

Ebanks, now 30, admitted having the $10 note and presenting it in the bar to pay for beers, but she maintained she did not know it was counterfeit; she thought she had received it as change at a supermarket.  

She also maintained she did not know about the presence in her home of a photocopier, paper, a counterfeit detection pen, and Monetary Authority metallic thread. She said she did know about metallic colored pens because one of the children in the house had played with them. 

She denied knowledge of three $25 counterfeit notes that were printed on one side, pointing out that police had found them in a magazine on a high shelf in a bathroom she shared.  

Police also found 38 black and white images of $25 notes; Justice Henderson had told jurors his view was that they were not similar enough to the genuine article to be regarded in law as counterfeit. In his instructions, he also pointed out that it was not necessary for Ebanks to have exclusive control of the contents of the bathroom. 

Before passing sentence, Justice Henderson said he agreed with the assessment of the officer who had prepared a social inquiry report. He said it would appear that the person taking the lead role in the manufacturing of the forged currency notes was Ebanks’ boyfriend, who was living with her at the time the house was searched.

The judge concluded that Ebanks played a lesser role and was acting under the influence of her live-in boyfriend.

Crown Counsel Kenneth Ferguson, who presented the case for the prosecution, told the court that the boyfriend was arrested and interviewed, but the crown chose not to proceed against him on the basis that he was a visitor to the house.

Mr. Furniss advised the court that the boyfriend was now in prison, serving a sentence for an unrelated matter.

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