GT man dodges serious charges in bar bill brawl

| 09/12/2016 | 1 Comment

(CNS): A local man has avoided what could have been a lengthy jail term this week after prosecutors dropped an attempted murder charge against him and accepted his guilty plea to causing grievous bodily harm after he stabbed a man in bar room brawl. Travis Ebanks (27) was handed a 14-month sentence after he admitted stabbing Vic Barnes at a bar in Mary Street in June and that he had gone too far in defending himself against Barnes, who started the fight because Ebanks had no money to pay his tab.

The court heard that Ebanks and Barnes, who were friends, had been drinking together for the best part of the day before the fight. But when they returned to Barnes’ own bar in George Town, the two men began arguing over a missing phone and Barnes also learned that Ebanks had run up a $50 bar bill. When he said that he had no money to pay, Barnes threw him out of the bar but Ebanks returned.

That was when Barnes went after him and allegedly at some point hit him on the head with a bottle. Ebanks then stabbed Barnes multiple times, causing serious and life threatening injuries before fleeing from the scene. Caught on CCTV running away with a large knife, Ebanks was soon charged with attempted murder.

But with later admissions by Barnes about starting the fight and evidence of Ebanks’ own but far less serious injury to the head that supported his claims of excessive self-defence, the crown dropped the charges to GBH. Despite a bar room full of people, no witnesses came forward to give evidence.

Although very badly injured, with stab wounds to his back and chest which punctured his lung, the court heard that the exceptional work of doctors at the George Town hospital saved Barnes’ life and he made a full recovery.

The court heard that Ebanks had no previous convictions for violence, though he has several drug possession charges and was at the time on bail for other minor offences. Before he was remanded he was working as an audio technician in a role he really enjoyed.

Defence attorney Nick Dixie, who represented Ebanks, told the court that Ebanks has had a difficult time in jail since he was remanded in custody. Because of the original attempted murder charges, Ebanks has been held in the high security basic unit for more than six months.

Handing him a 14-month jail term with time spent, Justice Dame Linda Dobbs warned Ebanks when he is released “to stop the rot” and turn things around. She raised concerns that his previous petty offending had escalated and he needed to turn his skills to good use.

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  1. Veritas says:

    Charges of attempted murder in cases like this always seem to be watered down to GBH. Maybe the CPS needs to reassess their methodology.

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