September 28, 2020

Cayman Brac man receives prison sentence for defilement of minor (12-16)

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Criminal-Justice-DegreeShankino William Ebanks (31) who had changed his original ‘Not Guilty’ plea to ‘Guilty’ to the charge of Defilement of a Girl between the age of twelve and sixteen years of age was sentenced to prison for three years and seven months by Grand Court Judge Charles Quin on 27th January. The sentence included a 10% reduction for Ebanks guilty plea that was made only on the day of his trial.

Ebanks had been accused of ‘unlawful and carnal knowledge’ of a 15 year old girl on a date unknown between the 9th November 2012 and the 8th May 2013 at Rebecca’s Cave, Southside, , Cayman Islands.

Ebanks admitted knowing that the girl was only 15 on the second occasion he had sex with her. The girl had told Ebanks at the first time they had sex she was 16.

The girl said she had sexual intercourse with Ebanks because she had feelings for him and that ” …everyone made her feel that if you love someone you have to please them.” She had sex with Ebanks of her own free will and she said he had told her that he loved her. When he had told her he could get into trouble for having sex with her after finding out she was only 15 she had told him she would not tell anyone what happened.

The social worker states that these offences against the victim were carried out when the victim would be experiencing emotional, physical and psychological changes. The Victim Impact Report (VIR) stated that even though the victim had “very good support from her parents,” the whole experience was “traumatic and embarrassing for her at the time.”

Additionally, the Complainant has stated that the Defendant (Ebanks) once told her that “she will not like it” if he is sent to prison and, therefore, she is fearful for her life if the Defendant should go to prison. Regrettably, apart from feeling fear the Complainant went through feelings of misplaced guilt as the Complainant has stated that friends and family members of the Defendant have not spoken to her, and they have behaved in a manner that suggests that she, the victim, had physically harmed the Defendant. Because of these feelings of guilt, it is reported that the Complainant would “cry for days, which affected her health and her sleeping pattern and appetite…”

The social worker states that fortunately, it is now almost two years since the incident occurred and the Complainant is now sleeping better and “coping with life.”

The SIR confirms that the Defendant explained that when he told the victim that he loved her he “did not mean it.” He said, “It is common sense so she should know.” The social worker stated that the Defendant “objectifies women, seeing them only in terms of satisfying sexual desires.”

The SIR reveals that the Defendant still seems to he believe that his actions were not improper or even caused by him. The Court notes from the SIR that the Defendant justifies his behaviour by blaming the morals of his partners when he says: “All they want is sex, sex, sex, that is how this generation is around me.”

Defence counsel, John Funiss, also submits that, although the Complainant’s behaviour is not a factor- because of the strict liability nature of the offence -there is evidence that the Complainant was promiscuous and was a willing participant in the sexual intercourse.

Defence counsel highlights the difficult upbringing the Defendant had – living in New York when under I 0 years of age and being sexually abused by an older woman.

Justice Quin said:

“It is my view that the Grand Court should take judicial notice of the deeply disturbing fact that the offence of Defilement of Girls Under 16 years of age is becoming increasingly prevalent. Accordingly, I consider 5 years’ imprisonment to be the appropriate starting point for an offender with no previous convictions and after a trial. However, before I can arrive at the appropriate sentence in this case I must consider all the relevant mitigating and aggravating factors.

“In this case the Defendant was not a coach, teacher or in a position of trust, but neither was he, to use Lawton LJ’s words: “a youth of sixteen, seventeen or eighteen.” The Defendant was approximately 13 years older than the Complainant and on the second occasion on which sexual intercourse took place knew that the Defendant was under 16 years of age.

The Court accepts that the Defendant has pleaded guilty – although he did wait until the date of his trial. The Court notes that the Defendant bas previous convictions for drug offences and for failure to surrender to custody, but no previous convictions for sexual offences.

As far as the issue of the Complainant’s initial consent to have sex with the Defendant is concerned, as Mr. Justice Henderson stated on the 24°’ April 2014 in R v. Randy McLean 4:

” …defilement is carnal knowledge of a girl under 16 and it is no defence to show that she consented ”

Justice Henderson pointed out:

‘”The whole underpinning of the statutory provision was to the effect that the girl’s views did not matter very much because she was not of the age of consent. It did not matter what she thought about him being punished or not because the law protects her absolutely.”

“Regrettably I can find very few mitigating factors, save for the fact that the Defendant pleaded guilty and used a condom.

“This is not a case in which the Defendant and the victim are similar in age. It is not a case where two young people are in a virtuous friendship which ends in sexual intercourse. The Defendant was a mature older man who, significantly, was married with young children of his own.

“The abuse of this young victim’s innocence is serious. The victim may have viewed the Defendant with some affection because of the companionship he provided in their discussions. However, the Defendant is the father of children himself. The Defendant should have fully realised how impossible it would be that there could be anything right, proper, normal or legal about a sexual relationship with this young girl.

“There is sadly, a distinct lack of remorse on the part of the Defendant and, quite extraordinarily, the Defendant seems to blame young girls like this Complainant for his actions.

“I have taken into account the submissions of both counsel, and I also take into account the helpful SIR and VIR.

“There is disturbing evidence that there is an increase in offences of this nature within the Cayman Islands. The law exists for situations like this- to protect young girls.

“A signal must be sent out to others like this Defendant that behaviour like this is unacceptable and will always be and must be punished by a custodial sentence.

“Having considered all the facts and circumstances put before me I find that the appropriate sentence in this case is 4 years’ imprisonment.

“The greatest reduction would be normally one-third where the guilty plea is made, or there is an unequivocal indication that there will be a guilty plea at the first reasonable opportunity.

“At paragraph 4.2 the SGC recommends that the level of the reduction will be gauged on a sliding scale ranging from a recommended one-third- where the guilty plea was entered at the first reasonable opportunity – reducing to a recommended quarter, where a trial date has been set, and finally, to a recommended one-tenth, for a guilty plea entered at the door of the Court or after the trial has begun.

“Therefore, I take into account that the Defendant entered his guilty plea on the day his trial was set to commence, and, accordingly, I grant a I 0% reduction and therefore impose a sentence of 3 years and 7 months’ imprisonment. Although the Defendant has been on bail since the 20th January 2014, he was remanded in custody after the sentence hearing on the 15th January 2015. Accordingly, I also order that time spent in custody is to be taken into consideration.”

IMAGE: online.shorter.edu

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