Sentence adjourned for accessory to murder

Leonard Antonio Ebanks to be sentenced on Feb. 3

Justice Charles Quin has set Tuesday, Feb. 3, to sentence Leonard Antonio Ebanks for being an accessory after the fact to the 2008 murder of Swiss banker Frederic Bise. 

The judge heard submissions from the Crown and defense attorneys on Monday and Tuesday. 

Many of them related to the fact that Ebanks had been tried on an indictment for murder. On Dec. 8, a 12-member jury found him not guilty of murder, but guilty to the lesser charge. 

Two female friends of the defendant had testified during his trial that he had confessed to being involved in the murder, though they differed on whether he had actually been involved in the assault that led to his death. 

In May 2014, a jury found Chad Anglin, Ebanks’s cousin, guilty of murdering Mr. Bise, whose badly beaten body was found in the trunk of his burned-out car outside the West Bay residence where he had been staying. 

Defense counsel Courtenay Griffiths referred to the testimony of two women who said Ebanks had confessed his involvement to them. He had uncovered inconsistencies in their evidence, but he had not cross-examined them about Ebanks as an accessory because he did not know that offense would become an alternative. There had been no mention of accessory when the prosecution had opened its case, he pointed out. 

Now there was an issue as to the basis on which Ebanks should be sentenced, Mr. Griffiths submitted. The court did not know why the jury reached the verdict it did, so the judge in effect was being asked to be the jury now, he said. 

Crown Counsel Elisabeth Lees repeated a section of Cayman’s Criminal Procedure Code, which states: On an indictment for murder, a person may be found guilty of manslaughter, grievous bodily harm, attempted murder, being an accessory after the fact or other alternatives. 

Ms. Lees submitted several U.K. authorities to indicate that, if only one version of facts leads to the verdict the jury reached, the judge will sentence on that version. If more than one version of facts would be consistent with the jury’s verdict, the judge may form his own view.  

Further, Ms. Lees indicated, the judge is not bound to accept the version of facts most favorable to the defendant. 

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