Mistrial in corruption case

| 25/02/2014

(CNS): The second trial of a serving police officer who is facing charges of corruption and bribery has ended in a mistrial one day after it started as a result of interpreter problems. Elvis Kelsey Ebanks is accused of asking a suspect, Len Ferraris, for a bribe of more than $500 in order not to pursue a case of theft against him in connection with a mobile phone. However, the complainant is a Filipino national whose first language is Tagalog, so when he took to the witness box Monday he delivered his evidence via an interpreter. But it became increasingly apparent that the interpreter, who is not a professional, was struggling when Ferraris was cross examined.

Those difficulties mounted during Tuesday’s proceedings and when the judge asked the interpreter if he was translating the questions and answers verbatim, the interpreter said no. As a result, defence attorney Amelia Fosuhene from Stenning & Associates raised her concerns and, given the circumstances, it became apparent that the trial could not continue because no one could be sure if the interpreted answers of Ferraris evidence were accurate. Visiting judge, Justice Malcolm Swift therefore declared a mistrial and dismissed the jury.

This is the second time this has happened in Ebanks’ case and for a similar reason. The previous trial also collapsed because of issues relating to the previous interpreter. The suspended cop was bailed to appear in court Monday 3 March when the lawyers will address the need to find a professional Tagalog speaking interpreter who can be employed for what will be the third trial.

Ebanks stands accused of blackmailing Ferraris and asking for $500 to make a potential theft charge go away. The police arrested the RCIPS officer under the anti-corruption law in November 2012on the day he had allegedly taken the $500 from Ferraris in a sting operation, in which the Filipino national, who was working in Cayman as a janitor, had cooperated with the Anti-corruption Unit. Ferraris met with Ebanks and handed over the money while undercover officers lay in wait. Ebanks has denied the charges and states that the money was a legitimate loan.

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Category: Crime

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