Leonard Ebanks loses second round of murder appeals

The courthouse building in downtown George Town.

Leonard Antonio Ebanks has lost his latest appeal against a murder conviction.

Ebanks, 50, is serving a 34-year prison sentence for the 2010 murder of Tyrone Burrell, after being convicted in September 2011. He was also convicted of accessory after the fact in the murder of businessman Frederic Bise in December 2014.

In 2012, he lost his appeal against the Burrell conviction, and in 2017 his appeal against the Bise conviction was also denied.

In what has been described as an extremely rare case, Ebanks returned to the Court of Appeal to have his cases heard for a second time on 7 Sept. 2020 and they were both dismissed the same day. However, the written judgment was only approved for release on 3 Feb.

“This is the second case in which someone whose appeal against conviction failed, seeks to reopen it,” the Court of Appeal said in the written judgment, noting that the first time was when Devon Anglin tried to reopen a failed appeal in 2018 in his conviction for the murder of Carlo Webster.

Ebanks was represented by Keith Myers, who argued that both convictions were unsafe to rely upon because Arlene White, a crucial witness in the two trials, was receiving money from police at the time of the first trial and attempted to lie about it during her testimony.

“Mr Myers submits that as Arlene White’s credibility was crucial to the conviction for murder, the fact she told lies to the magistrate is of high significance and justifies reopening the conviction for murder,” reads the judgment.

In their written judgment, the judges accepted that White lied about receiving money from police, but noted that this came out during the second trial.

When dismissing the appeal, the judges said that White’s lies were not “a basis for re-opening a previously concluded appeal”.

“In our judgment, this case falls far short of the wholly exceptional circumstances in which a conviction might be reopened,” said the judges. “We refuse, in the circumstances, this application.”

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