Paul Anthony Hume Ebanks was remanded in custody shortly before 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday following a series of guilty verdicts to 26 charges of obtaining property by deception and one charge of theft of a passport.
The jury of four women and two men found Ebanks guilty of obtaining various sums of cash from people by falsely representing that it was required payment for the legitimate grant of Caymanian status or permanent residence. By their verdicts, jurors found that Ebanks had dishonestly obtained approximately $164,000 between mid-2012 and December 2014.
There was one not guilty verdict, which was directed by Justice Michael Wood. He had told the jury previously that on a charge of dishonestly obtaining $800, the complainant did not come to court and did not provide a written statement; therefore, there was no evidence.
Justice Wood thanked jurors for their service and told them they were welcome to come back if they wished for sentencing, which would almost certainly be Thursday, Nov. 10.
Later he commented that the pressure on courtroom availability might affect the time of sentencing.
Crown counsel Toyin Salako, who conducted the case for the prosecution, reminded the judge of Ebanks’s previous convictions for obtaining by deception.
Justice Wood said he had read the judge’s remarks when Ebanks was sentenced in 2006. At that time, the sentencing judge had accepted that this was not a particularly prevalent offense, he noted.
“That has changed,” Ms. Salako replied.
She advised that the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal had ruled last week on a similar case of obtaining property by deception. The court granted the appeal of Marcia Angella Hamilton, who had been sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment after she was found guilty of accepting payments of $2,500 for permanent residence. Ms. Salako said the court’s written ruling was being prepared and she would make sure Justice Wood had it to refer to before Thursday. In a connected hearing, Judith Francia Douglas had her appeal against sentence dismissed for the same type of offense; she had received two and a half years after pleading guilty.
Ms. Salako said the Court of Appeal had commented on the uniqueness of the offense and said that U.K. guidelines did not assist in setting a sentence.
She said that ordinarily she would ask for victim impact statements, but not in this case.
Justice Wood replied that he had seen the impact in the faces of some of the victims who had given evidence.