Rogue bikers a ‘menace to the public,’ warns magistrate

Biker took selfies during police chase

This image was captured by the police helicopter as it pursued Ebanks and another biker on Nov. 10.

A rogue biker who took selfies as he led police on a 30-minute chase across West Bay has been jailed for a year.

Alvin Shaquille Ebanks pulled wheelies and stood on the seat of a stolen motorcycle as he weaved in and out of traffic at high speed on Nov. 10 this year, a court heard Monday.

Passing sentence, Magistrate Valdis Foldats said reckless bikers were a “menace to the public.” He said the court was “handicapped” in its efforts to send a message on the issue because the maximum sentence for dangerous driving in Summary Court is one year in prison.

Mr. Foldats said Mr. Ebanks had shown a disdain for the rules of the road and suggested he may have been given a longer sentence if the prosecution had elected to take the case to Grand Court.

He added that the legislature might wish to take another look at the sentencing guidelines for dangerous driving in the light of the threat posed to the public by rogue bikers.

Summarizing the evidence at Monday’s sentencing hearing, Crown counsel Stacy-Ann Kelly said Mr. Ebanks was tracked by the police helicopter during a lengthy pursuit that started on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway and ended on Birch Tree Hill Road.

She said officers in the air support unit had spotted Mr. Ebanks filming the chase on his phone as he rode at speed through West Bay. When he was eventually caught, he abandoned the stolen Yamaha motorcycle in the bushes and fled into a store, locking himself in the bathroom.

This image was captured by the police helicopter as it pursued Ebanks and another biker on Nov. 10.

He later attempted to flee the store, shoving a police officer into shelves of produce, before he was subdued with pepper spray and arrested.

Mr. Ebanks pleaded guilty to two counts of handling stolen goods, dangerous driving, riding without insurance, riding without being qualified, failing to display license plates and failing to comply with police.

Magistrate Foldats said the courts had to send a message that such brazen disregard for the law from “grandstanding bikers” could not be tolerated.

He said “the brazenness of recording the chase” while being pursued was an aggravating factor.

Mr. Foldats said it was unfortunate that the maximum sentence for dangerous driving in traffic court is only one year.

“I imagine the legislators weren’t aware of motorcycle grandstanding when they put those [sentencing guidelines] in place,” he added.

John Furniss, who represented Mr. Ebanks, said the only mitigation he could offer was that the offenses took place in daylight, where they were less likely to cause an accident. He acknowledged his client had previous convictions for similar offenses. He claimed that Mr. Ebanks was at least a skilled mechanic and apparently a skilled rider who had never actually caused an accident.

“I am going to put that down to luck,” Magistrate Foldats interjected. “All you have to have is somebody crossing the street at the wrong time and someone standing on their seat is not in a position to do the right thing. That’s not much mitigation I am afraid.”

Mr. Ebanks also plead guilty to a charge of handling stolen goods in connection to the bike he was riding during the chase, which had been stolen from outside the Marriott hotel in August. He admitted a second charge of handling stolen goods in relation to another motorcycle he was caught riding on a separate occasion.

He was given separate sentences ranging from one month imprisonment to six months’ imprisonment for each of the eight offenses. The total sentence adds up to one year behind bars. He was also banned from driving for two years.

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  1. This is farcical. The individual in the CPS who authorised these 8 serious offences committed by a habitual offender to be heard in Summary Court, should be named and shamed. He will be out in 6 months, hardly a deterrent for all the other rogue bikers roaming our roads.