Herby McLean Ebanks, 67, was sentenced last week to 18 months in prison after a jury found him guilty of cutting his adult daughter’s face, leaving her with a permanent scar.
The wound was inflicted with a knife Ebanks had been using to clean fish when she came into the yard.
Crown prosecutor Candia James described the wound to the woman’s cheek as a deep cut that required a plastic surgeon to suture it inside and out.
The incident occurred in March 2014, and the woman still has the scar “to remind her to this day what happened,” Ms. James said. She described the knife as having a 10-inch blade.
At the trial in March this year, the jury found Ebanks not guilty of wounding with intent, but guilty of wounding. The matter was adjourned so that a social inquiry report could be prepared. On July 1, Justice Alistair Malcolm passed sentence via video link after hearing from defense attorney Laurence Aiolfi, who spoke in mitigation.
Mr. Aiolfi described a history of animosity between the defendant and his daughter. What started as a family problem got out of control, to the extent that Ebanks filed a complaint with police about his daughter, who he did not want coming to his premises.
Unfortunately, Mr. Aiolfi continued, the police did not manage to speak to the woman in the week or so between her father’s complaint and her returning to the premises to see her mother “He may have been of the frame of mind that she had been told to stay away by police,” Mr. Aiolfi pointed out, adding that Ebanks would have seen it as provoking behavior.
Ebanks had maintained that he cut his daughter by accident – that the knife was in his hand when she approached him. There was a momentary period in which he made the poor decision to use the knife, the attorney said.
Mr. Aiolfi said Ebanks would agree to intervention such as counseling or anger management.
He submitted that a jail sentence would not resolve the difficult family issues, so a suspended sentence would be appropriate.
Justice Malcolm disagreed, pointing out that Ebanks had received suspended sentences in the past. They had kept him out of trouble during the periods of suspension, but they had not seemed to change his attitude as far as his temper was concerned and his use of violence.
By their verdict, jurors had rejected his account that his daughter was the aggressor and that the wound occurred by accident, Justice Malcolm said.
The judge said Ebanks’s grandchild had been an impressive witness, describing how Ebanks had said, “You are not going to pass,” to the mother, and then demonstrating how the knife was used. “You pushed it into her face and then pulled it across,” the judge said.
The jury had found that Ebanks did not intend to cause really serious harm, but when a knife is used, “it is very easy to cause severe consequences that you neither intend nor foresee – and those consequences can include death,” the judge said.