Accessory to Bise murder gets 20 years

Defendant already serving life for murder of Tyrone Burrell

  A man who is already serving a life sentence for murder was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years’ imprisonment for being an accessory to the 2008 murder of Swiss banker Frederic Bise. 

Justice Charles Quin handed down the sentence on Tuesday to Leonard Antonio Ebanks for being an accessory after the fact to the murder. Ebanks was tried on an indictment for murder last year; a 12-member jury found him not guilty of murder, but guilty to the lesser charge.  

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.  

Justice Quin described the murder as brutal, evil and gruesome. He suggested that, but for the destruction of evidence by Ebanks, the likelihood was that the investigation of the case against Anglin could have led to successful prosecution and conviction seven years earlier. 

Mr. Bise had been a vulnerable victim, the judge said. A statement from Mr. Bise’s wife indicated that the family had suffered from uncertainty and fear all that time, knowing his killer was in the community. 

The judge noted that Ebanks, at age 44, had 52 previous convictions for a range of offenses. In light of that record and this offense of being an accessory to Mr. Bise’s murder, he imposed a term of 20 years and ordered that it be served consecutive to the sentence Ebanks serves for the murder of Tyrone Burrell in 2010. Ebanks is currently under a sentence of life imprisonment for that conviction.  

Senior Crown counsel Elisabeth Lees advised that the sentence could only be consecutive if there is a tariff on the whole life term. A tariff sentence would mean a specific number of years. 

Defense attorney Amelia Fosuhene agreed that a consecutive sentence could not be imposed. 

Justice Quin said if Ebanks’s life sentence becomes a specific term of years, the accessory sentence would become consecutive. But if Ebanks’s murder sentence remained life, the accessory sentence would be concurrent. 

Ms. Fosuhene submitted that the judge had to deal with the circumstances as they are now. 

All agreed that the sentence is 20 years; whether it is consecutive or concurrent is another matter. 

Justice Quin noted that the pertinent legislation, the Conditional Release Law of 2014, had been gazetted in December, 2014. What he wanted to know is when it will come into force. 

The matter needed further argument, he suggested, and someone might take it to the Court of Appeal.