Police Auxiliary Constable Curtis Ebanks was publicly thanked in Grand Court on Friday for his assistance with a case that had been going on for over three years, but has now been discontinued.
The case that prompted Justice Charles Quin to express his gratitude was that of Don Marcus Nixon, now 50, who had been charged with arson following an incident on July 30, 2012.
Details of the charge were that Nixon, without lawful excuse, had damaged by fire a sofa in the laundry room of a George Town residence. Arson can be dealt with only in the Grand Court.
By Aug. 31, 2012, Nixon was committed to the higher court where he appeared before Chief Justice Anthony Smellie. On that date, defense attorney Prathna Bodden advised that Nixon recently suffered a stroke which had affected him mentally as well as physically. She told the court she had been in touch with his doctors as well as with the prison, where he was in custody.
His remand in custody continued and on Oct. 19, 2012 Justice Quin noted that the chief justice had ordered that Nixon be examined by a psychiatrist. Defense attorney Prathna Bodden said the examination report should include an opinion on his fitness to plead. In January 2013, Ms. Bodden complained that the psychiatric report received was not thorough enough and Justice Quin agreed.
By March 2013, Ms. Bodden and family members were expressing concern that Nixon’s condition was deteriorating. Justice Quin directed that a representative of the Mental Health Unit attend court the following week and bring a diary so that an appointment could be made for the defendant. Five months later there was still no report and Justice Quin expressed frustration.
Ms. Bodden said Nixon did go to the doctor on the date he was given. “He was told they could not accommodate him. They gave him another date and he didn’t go.” The Crown counsel added that on at least one occasion Nixon did go to the doctor on a date assigned, but he went late and by that time the doctor’s schedule was filled with other patients.
“There is nobody to keep this together for him,” Ms. Bodden observed.
This is where Officer Ebanks came in.
In recording his gratitude to the policeman on Friday, Justice Quin commented on “the invaluable assistance you have given to Mr. Nixon week after week, month after month, year after year …. You went above and beyond the call of duty in taking him to hospital and taking him to his appointments and bringing him to court. It was outstanding service,” he said.
Earlier on Friday, Justice Robin McMillan issued a ‘minute of order’ after Nixon limped into the dock to appear before him.
“Today the Crown advised that this charge of arson has been of some age, and over the years there have been a number of mental health reports and further statements in the case and now, after careful review, the Crown will discontinue the case against the defendant.”
Ms. Bodden asked that it be placed on record the invaluable support given to this case by Officer Ebanks.
Justice McMillan added in his minute of order Justice Quin’s request that it be placed on record “that many mention hearings would not have been effective without the invaluable assistance of Officer Curtis Ebanks.
“The fact that Officer Curtis Ebanks’ name is recorded on most minutes of order throughout this file is a testimony to his professionalism and selfless dedication to this case,” the judge concluded.