Sex offender fails in bid to cut jail term

| 16/11/2015 | 5 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman courts, Grand Cayman

(CNS): A lawyer’s arguments that a judge had been too harsh and rigid when sentencing his client in connection with the defilement of a 15-year-old girl failed to persuade the appeal court that three years and seven months sentence should be cut. Representing Shankino William Ebanks (32) during the third week of the Court of Appeal’s winter session, Michael Snape said the judge did not give enough weight and consideration to his client’s difficult background or his lack of previous sex offending before he handed down the jail term.

Snape also claimed that Justice Charles Quin had not considered the reason for Ebanks’ eleventh hour guilty plea, which came on the morning of the trial, when he gave him just a 10% discount on the four-year sentence he had arrived at. The lawyer argued that it was not until the crown had accepted certain aspects of the case that he was able to make an admission and that was the cause of the delay, not an attempt to frustrate the course of justice.

Ebanks was convicted in January of this year of having sex with an underage girl when she was 15 and he was 28. The crown accepted that when he met the girl he believed on her account that she was 16. However, on another occasion when they met he challenged her about her age and she admitted being just 15 but he continued their sexual relationship anyway.

Snape told the appeal court panel that his client had been abused himself and was the victim of a very difficult upbringing. Then he had suffered drug problems and had been involved in a challenging relationship with the mother of his three children. Snape argued that his client had not groomed the 15-year-old girl with whom he had had a relationship and had not discovered her age until they had already previously had sex.

However, the senior judges disagreed with Snape’s submissions and stated that, given the increasing concern about the number of defilement cases and relationships where there is such a disparity in age, the sentence was not manifestly unfair. They said that in his ruling the judge had given consideration to the man’s lack of previous convictions and his troubling past but it was the age difference and his lack of remorse or understanding of what he had done wrong that had also influenced the judge’s decision on the sentence.

Delivering the panel’s short judgement dismissing the appeal and upholding the sentence, Sir Alan Moses said the facts of the case were “all too familiar” with a man who was substantially older than the  girl and it was this disparity in age that the law is designed to prevent.

He said the court of appeal did not believe Justice Quin had been too rigid, having reduced the sentence to allow for the mitigation. The panel also found that, regardless of the circumstances regarding the plea agreement, the plea was still very late and he had known whether or not he was guilty.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (5)

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  1. Jody-Ann White says:

    What is the statute of limitations on statutory tape in G Cayman?

    I know of a young woman who got preganant by a 15y.o. boy. She did not register the child in his name (of course).

    However, learning the circumstances of that child’s birth… I just want to know what can be done about a situation like this(if anything). Because our young men need to be protected as well.

    Thank you.

    CNS: I’ve forwarded thi questions to Auntie – see our feature columm here if you haven’t already found it

  2. Anonymous says:

    Shame on this guy for preying on a teenage girl, but also shame on the system for not understanding the trend in Cayman. For some reason, our teenage girls pressure each other to seek out older men from the time they hit puberty. Most of them are not attracted to the boys their age, and due to Cayman’s materialistic culture, they crave boys/men with cars, jewellery, money, etc. who can feed their low self esteem and financial shortcomings. Extroverted guys with poor education, bad attitudes, criminal records or gang affiliations are most attractive to teenage girls. This is a cycle that the Dept. of Children and Family Services needs to address because it is ruining our society.

    What makes matters worse is a lot of these girls lie about their age and the guy gets in trouble for statutory rape no matter what. His name is tarnished while her identity is protected – is that fair? There should be a fraud/deception charge against the girl who is equally as guilty of, or in some cases, the instigator of the crime.

    It is not unreasonable to think that if a man picks up a young woman in a nightclub or bar, he naturally assumes she is old enough to be there. If it results in a statutory case unbeknownst to the guy, then the girl should be punished. She defrauded the bar/nightclub, possibly with a fake i.d. which is also fraud, and deceived the guy into believing she was of age.

    It’s fair enough to charge the guy if he preyed on a teenage girl, but when the teenage girl preys on older men, she too should be punished to send a message to others.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wonder what was so crucially different between this case and the teacher who had his t erm reduced for similar actions with teenage boys – when considering the position of trust he was held

    • Anonymous says:

      One case was a simple appeal against a sentence. The other focused on a procedural error by the judge who took into account matters on sentence that he was not entitled to take into account. Both appeal outcomes seem absolutely correct and unimpeachable.

    • Anon a must says:

      The Difference is the one with the greater offenses(plural) and LESS Jail time is JAMAICAN. The one with a lesser offense and greater jail time is Caymanian. That explains everything, Thank you.

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