Thu | Dec 3, 2020

Prosecution insists alleged gang members have case to answer

Published:Thursday | July 4, 2019 | 12:10 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

The prosecution yesterday began responding to no-case submissions made by defence attorneys, telling the court that reputed gang leader Uchence Wilson and his 21 alleged gang members have a case to answer.

Since Monday, defence attorneys have been asserting that the evidence against their clients was weak. They insisted that the witnesses who testified were not at the alleged robberies, and, therefore, their testimonies were unreliable.

But as the trial continued at the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston yesterday, the prosecution said that its witnesses are confessed members of the gang, participated in robberies and were at some points receivers of stolen items.

The prosecutor also said that although much has been said about the lack of corroboration, this does not make the testimonies of the alleged former gang members inadmissible.

She also charged that the specific dates of commission for the offences with which alleged gang members have been charged are not essential to the prosecution’s case.

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, who is presiding over the trial, took issue with the evidence in respect of accused Tashina Baker.

He said that the prosecution had not offered any proof that she had provided a benefit to a criminal organisation or that she was a gang member.

Sykes questioned how the prosecution would prove that what Baker allegedly did was for the benefit of the criminal organisation and not accused Fitzroy Scott, who is said to have been her boyfriend then.

The prosecutor said that although the Crown must lead evidence against each accused, it must be considered that they acted together.

Earlier in the proceedings, the defence attorney made no-case submissions on behalf of former pawn store employees Jermaine Stewart and Ricardo Serju.

Wilson and his 21 alleged gang members are on trial for breaches of the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act 2014, commonly known as the anti-gang legislation, for crimes allegedly committed from 2015 to 2017.

They are also being tried for breaches of the Firearms Act.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com