Robbery suspect berates court over justice delays

| 08/02/2012

_DEW1072-cns(2).jpg(CNS):  A 33 year old man from West Bay who has been on remand for almost one year awaiting trial for the robbery of a small grocery store with an imitation weapon claims he has not been treated fairly by the criminal justice system. Ryan Ebanks who is charged with holding up the Three N’s grocery store in West Bay in March 2011 could now face further delays however, after he became visibly frustrated and sacked his lawyer, Friday morning. Ebanks berated the court and his legal representative insisting that not only had he waited too long for a trial date but he had not been given full disclosure by the crown.

Facing an anonymous witness hearing later this month Ebanks told the court he would represent himself.

Dismissing the charges against him as a “waste of time” the suspect said that his lawyer, the second attorney allocated to him under the legal aid system, was not doing what he asked and speaking up for him.  “I don’t need another prosecutor,” Ebanks told the court as he insisted he no longer wanted his lawyer. “I have been treated very unfairly,” he said referring to the system as he expressed his frustrations loudly.

The judge explained to Ebanks that the role of an attorney was not merely to do everything a client might want. The judge pointed out that a trial date was now set for March and that an undertaking had been made by the crown to supply all of the information he would need.

Justice Seymour Panton pointed out to the defendant that the courts and the lawyers were doing everything they could to assist but with a limited amount of judges and court rooms facing a growing list of crimes, delays were inevitable.  “Accused persons need to understand that things happen,” the judge said, adding that he hoped there would be no further postponements regarding his case as he pointed to the growing case loads.

“Where there are less cases, the cases will be tried quicker, but when there is a rise in numbers there will be delays but the courts are trying their best to prevent them,” he added. The judge went on to express his surprise at the apparent rise in crime and noted that accused persons will find they are waiting longer for their trials as the state tries its best at great expense.

Having worked in the Cayman Islands in the past the visiting Jamaican judge pointed out that crime was becoming a serious problem in Cayman which was the simple explanation as to why things took longer than people would like.

Justice Seymour said when he worked for the attorney general’s chambers in the 1970s there wasn't a single robbery or shootings in the entire five years he was here. However, during his first five days in the Cayman Islands during this visit he said there were two robberies and two shootings.

Ebanks’ attorney, James Stenning said he had done his best for his client and understood his frustrations but if he no longer felt comfortable with his representation then he must come off record.

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Category: Crime

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