(CNS): Adam Mark Ebanks (32) was convicted Thursday of causing malicious wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on his nephew, after a Grand Court judge rejected claims that he was acting in self-defence when he stabbed Jason Ebanks multiple times in his head, neck and body at the family home in Windsor Park last year. In his verdict following a short trial last month the judge said he believed the attack was about seeking revenge and not self-defence.
Ebanks had said that his nephew also had a knife, and while admitting that he had stabbed him during the course of a fight, he claimed that he was not the protagonist and, although armed with two knives, he was just protecting himself.
However, the judge said that there was clear evidence that Adam Ebanks had not acted in self-defence and had gone over the top in the attack. Justice Charles Quin said the uncle was “determined to seek revenge” on his nephew when he armed himself with two knives and escalated a fight that had already stopped.
The court heard that the uncle and his nephew were close in age and were friends for many years. On the night of the stabbing Adam Ebanks had come home drunk from a wedding; a fight had broken out between the men over some perceived insult and Jason Ebanks had punched his uncle. During that first scuffle it appeared that both men had sustained some minor injuries, though the nephew was cut on his face as he claimed his uncle had a pocket knife. The court said it could not make a factual determination on that fight given the mixed evidence.
While that fight had spilled over into the corridor of their house, it had stopped when both men retreated to their rooms, and the judge said he saw this as the first of two separate incidences.
After both men went to their respective bedrooms, the judge said, that could have been the end of the matter. But Adam Ebanks became the protagonist of a far more serious incident when he armed himself with two knives from his room, including a long narrow fishing knife, and despite the best efforts of his wife to stop him, he had headed back out to look for his nephew. The judge said that this was not self-defence as neither of the men posed a threat to each other at that time.
Adam Ebanks came out with the knives and saw his nephew, who, he said, had then stabbed at him. He told the police and court that he began wielding his arms in a windmill motion as he stabbed at his younger relative. During his police interview he said, “I stabbed him one time too many … I had had not meant to do that.”
Jason Ebanks denied being armed with a knife and said he only had his keys. After his uncle had repeatedly stabbed at him, he had picked up a bicycle that was in the hallway and threw it at his attacker in an effort to get away, he said. The court had heard that he then ran into the street, where he fell to the ground and was assisted by a nurse, who identified a very serious neck wound. But with the help of another passer-by, they worked on stemming the bleeding before the emergency services arrived.
A hospital report revealed that Jason Ebanks had sustained 19 stab wounds, several of which were serious, and he was admitted to the hospital’s critical care unit for several weeks. Meanwhile, his uncle, who had claimed to be acting in self-defence, had sustained two minor puncture wounds to his thighs.
The judge said that Ebanks’ account that he was also stabbed and was only protecting himself was implausible and that his actions were “over the top” and he used excessive force. Justice Quin said he believed the defendant was intent on harming his nephew in retaliation for the earlier fight but his response was way beyond reasonable self-defence, as he was not under threat when he was locked in his own room with his wife and his nephew was in another part of the house. The judge pointed out that if both men had remained in their rooms, they would not be where they were.
Following the verdict, Adam Ebanks, who is in full-time work and of previous good character, was bailed and bound to return for sentencing on 3 December after a victim impact statement and a social enquiry report was ordered by the court.