Defendant claims witnesses are lying about his confessions

The man accused of murdering Swiss banker Frederic Bise suggested he was the victim of a conspiracy as he continued to insist that two women who claimed he confessed to the crime were lying.

Leonard Antonio Ebanks repeatedly denied any involvement in the February 2008 murder of 40-year-old Mr. Bise in West Bay. He faced questioning from prosecutor Simon Russell-Flint QC on Monday and Tuesday as the murder trial continued in Grand Court.

In a series of angry exchanges with the prosecutor, Ebanks said he was already serving a life sentence for another murder because of the “lies” of one of the women – a housekeeper who claims he confessed both crimes to her.

He said the other witness, a former lover whom he said he “used” for drug money and a place to stay, was working for the police and sleeping with numerous officers. He accepted under questioning from Mr. Russell-Flint that those allegations had not been put to the officers or the witness when she took the stand.

Asked how two separate women at two different times, two years apart, could have given similar stories of his reported confessions to the Bise murder, he suggested there had been an effort to frame him.

“If you are paying someone, you are going to make sure they are in line with someone else,” he said – a reference to the fact that the housekeeper received a stipend through the witness protection program after giving statements to the police.

He said similarities in the statements of the two women suggested “collusion.”

Ebanks repeatedly denied any involvement in the killing of Bise, whose badly beaten body was found in the burnt-out wreck of his car in West Bay.

He said, “I’m no saint. I’ve committed robberies, burglaries, assaults, but I’m not a murderer.”

Mr. Russell-Flint repeatedly suggested to Ebanks that he was known in the West Bay community as a “batty boy” – Jamaican street slang for a homosexual – and that he had been recruited by his cousin Chad Anglin to visit Mr. Bise on the night of the killing. He suggested he had been prepared to “sell his body” for drug money and when the banker had not paid, he and his cousin had killed him.

Mr. Ebanks, who is married, denied he is homosexual and insisted he had not seen Anglin on the night of the killing. He said he had met Mr. Bise only once – several months earlier at Macabuca in West Bay.

“I have no knowledge of when he was killed, why he was killed, or who killed him,” he said.

During an increasingly heated series of exchanges with the prosecutor, Ebanks spoke directly to the jury, acknowledging he was struggling to control his temper. “Mr. Flint knows I have a short fuse when I am being interrogated,” he said.

“I am, right here, right now, fighting the urge to tell this man some bad things. The reason why I won’t do it is that I’ve promised myself to tell you what I know, and that is really nothing much. I can’t assist these people because I know nothing about this crime.”

He said the prosecutor was talking “rubbish of the highest order,” and insisted there was not “one scintilla” of real evidence linking him to the crime.

The trial continues.

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