Retired seafarer gets community service for $180 theft

| 11/09/2012

(CNS): A 78-year-old man was given 100 hours community service by a Grand Court judge last week after stealing $180 from a liquor store where he was working post retirement as a messenger. Henry Bodsit Ebanks had pleaded guilty to the theft, which took place in May 2008 while he worked for Jacques Scott in retirement as a messenger. Although theft normally carries a custodial sentence, Justice Carol Beswick found that the small amount of money taken, his guilty plea, his previously unblemished record and a low risk of reoffending made the retired seafarer a candidate for a non-custodial sentence.

Among the many mitigating factors she spoke of was the high regard he was held in by his community and  the character references given for Ebanks, which included his local pastor as well as one from the country’s premier, McKeeva Bush.

The judge noted that theft had to be deterred given Cayman’s standing as a financial services centre but she said this was not a case that would be expected to impact on the economy in general or on the public in particular. She said that as a messenger, paid $8 per hour, Ebanks was not in a significant position of trust and had held no lofty positions at the firm even before his retirement.

The judge said the incident was one offence and he had paid back the money he stole. Furthermore, at 78, as he was no longer seeking employment, he did not pose a risk to the business community.

“It is my view that the circumstances of this case should not result in immediate imprisonment, and applying the law as I understand it, the appropriate sentence is one of giving age-appropriate voluntary service to the community,” Justice Beswick said.

“Accordingly I impose a sentence of 100 hours of community service, which will assist the defendant to repay his debt to society and will serve as a reminder … that the crime of theft was indeed committed and carries with it consequences, no matter how small the amount stolen.”

Ebanks was caught stealing the cash on the firm’s newly-installed camera. During his rounds collecting money from the various stores, he placed the money in a deposit bag down his sock. He was confronted and the money was found there.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Crime

About the Author ()

Comments (14)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    "At 78 years of age he should have known better" . Well he was only 73 when he stole the money. XXX

  2. Anonymous says:

    Publish these names CNS – what the public don't know is that this was going on for years at Jacques Scott every day he collected the deposits from all the Jacques Scott liquor stores and everyday somebody deposit was short.  No one at Jacques Scott even suspected him because of his good old character – until they put them security cameras up ! 

  3. Anonymous says:

    I am much afraid that there are going to be alot of little thefts, as times are so hard especially for the older people, and the wages are so small. Dosent give no one the right to steal, but alot of Caymanians are hurting. Some folks cant even afford to put gasoline in their cars, dont you see enough of them driving with their windows down to help save gasoline. When the shoes are tight on the other persons foot you dont feel it. Lets hope that he {took] not stole the money for a very needed purpose and not to buy liquor.

    • Like It Is says:

      Pathetic excuse making.  There is no need to commit a crime.  "Some folks cant even afford to put gasoline in their cars"  Oh the humanity.  When times are tough one's true morals shine through.

    • SSM345 says:

      18:21, times are hard yes, but there are many other ways to go about your daily routine if you cannot afford gas:

      1) Ask a friend / co-worker / family for a ride

      2) walk, you were born with two legs before you got four wheels

      3) take a bus

      4) get a bicycle

      5) find a civil servant with a gas boy card

      6) rub shoulders with Mac and UDP

  4. Law and Disorder says:

    Off with his head!!!! Pillaging is reserved by law to those with more "Honourable" names.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This man is a thief and there are so many posters rushing to defend him against his employer?  Pathetic.  The entire community has a right to know the criminals in their midst.  Publication of conviction is an important element of the criminal justice process.

  6. Anonymous says:

    That is so petty for such a well established company ! even worse considering the offender they should be ashamed internal discipline would have been sufficient.

  7. Anonymous says:

    CNS can you please stop posting these poor people's names???


    For petty crimes. Please stop humiliating these poor folks. 


    In such a small community – reporting like this can be devastating for these people and thier families. 


    Serious crimes, dangerous people, repeat offenders – OK. The community benefits from knowing.


    If anyone is going to hire them – they will ask for a police reference and find out about any criminal record that way. 



    Do others feel the same???

    • Anonymous says:

      At 78 years of age, he sure as hell should have known better.



    • Anonymous says:

      I definitely agree with you on that one. I guess you make the decision to commit a crime, whether a petty crime or a big crime, you don’t have the right to decided whether or not you are identified. It’s sad and I can imagine the embarrassment he must feel and others related to him. As my mother always says “it pays to live a honest and decent life”

  8. ex-Jacques Scott customer says:

    Why didn't Jacques Scott just deal with this as an internal matter? Was it really necessary to drag a 78-year-old into court?

    Jacques Scott, you lost a good customer.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Character reference from McKeeva Bush? Mmmm…