Lawyer claims nothing new in cold case

| 08/12/2014

(CNS): As Courtney Griffiths QC summarised the case for Leonard Ebanks, who has denied killing Swiss Banker Frederic Bise, the lawyer said nothing had changed in the evidence regarding the case since the original investigation, when the police believed then there was insufficient evidence against his client. The only thing that was different now, Griffiths told the court on Friday, was that his client had in the interim been tried and convicted of another murder. Griffiths said there was not a single shred of new evidence against Ebanks in this case that the cops did not have in 2010, when he was not even arrested because the evidence was so scant. But now, on the same evidence, his client was charged with a murder he had nothing to do with.

As a result of Ebanks' early conviction for the fatal shooting of Tyrone Burrell in September 2010 largely being based on an alleged confession he made to a helper who worked in the yard where Burrell was killed, the lawyer said that the crown knew that the jury would hear about his existing conviction. He said that Ebanks was forced to talk about that killing when he took the stand in this case, and as a result the police knew he would be an easy target.

Although the crown had insisted there was no conspiracy to try and frame an innocent man, Griffiths said there was not a shred of real evidence against his client. The entire case is based on the contradictory and inconsistence evidence given by the helper, who claimed Ebanks confessed to her on several occasions, and a former girlfriend, who said he had confessed to her once. 

Despite the fundamentals of their stories being similar and the women allegedly were not known to each other, Griffiths pointed out that the women could very easily have colluded in their stories as they live just yards apart. Ebanks’ ex-girlfriend went to the police on the night he left her to go back to his wife and the helper made herstatement of an alleged confession only after she had already become a paid protected witness.

With no other eye witnesses, no forensic evidence, a considerable amount of speculation by the crown on what actually happened to Bise after he left Kelly’s bar with Chad Anglin in the early morning hours of 8 February, Griffiths told the jury that they should not convict his client as he wasn’t there and knew nothing about the murder.

He pressed home the fact that even when the cold case team took over the investigation and conducted what was supposedly a thorough investigation, after allegations that the first one was “unsatisfactory”, he said no new evidence came to light. He pointed out that one police officer had dismissed the allegations made by Ebanks’ former lover as possibly malicious.

The lawyer noted that even with the second alleged confession evidence from the helper two years later, police said evidence was still insufficient to charge Ebanks.

Griffiths noted that a criminal trial is not a “beauty contest” and he was not asking the jury to like his client, who was an admitted drug addict and criminal. But he pointed out that the verdict they returned had to be based on the evidence and the only true verdict was one of not guilty.

Justice Charles Quin, the presiding judge in the case, will be summing up the evidence for the jury Monday morning and directing them in the law. Ebanks has been charged with murder but the jury will also be offered the alternative count of aiding and abetting.

Chad Anglin has already been convicted of killing the Swiss banker after he was seen on CCTV with the victim at Kelly’s bar in West Bay and seen by witnesses leaving the bar with Bise. Anglin’s DNA was also found at the victim's house on cigarette butts and his car.

The crown claims that Ebanks assisted Anglin to murder Bise with a concrete block, possible in the Barkers area. The crown says the men then drove around West Bay with the body in the back of the vehicle before the car was returned to the house in Mount Pleasant, where Bise was living, and set it alight.

Although the crown did not set out a clear and precise motive, it has claimed that Bise, who was gay and living and increasingly risky lifestyle, had entered into a sex for money arrangement with Anglin and Ebanks on the night he was killed.

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