Wed | Apr 1, 2020

King Valley Gang Trial | Evidence against clients too weak, defence insists

Published:Tuesday | February 11, 2020 | 12:27 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

The credibility of the Crown’s key witness was the central focus of defence attorneys yesterday as they began making closing arguments in the trial of six alleged members of the Westmoreland-based King Valley Gang.

Russell Stewart, the attorney representing accused Lindell Powell, described the testimony given by the former gangster-turned-Crown witness as hearsay, citing that there was no supporting evidence.

He also argued that the police did not demonstrate that his client met the criteria of being a member of a gang as set out in the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisation), commonly referred to as anti-gang legislation.

During the trial, the witness testified that members of the gang pursued a man named Ika Clarke and killed him, while Powell admitted in a question-and-answer session with police that he shot Clarke multiple times.

The witness also said that Clarke’s sister was raped by members of the gang, including Powell.

His attorney, however, asserted that the prosecution has not shown that the killing of Ika Clarke was as a result of actions of the King Valley Gang.

Stewart also said that facilitating the serious offence of murder and committing murder were different, concluding that this did not prove or make out the offence in the anti-gang legislation.

The attorney also argued that there was no report or DNA proof presented in the case as supporting evidence to show that Clarke’s sister was raped.

“The court should not convict, but acquit the counts proferred,” Stewart said as he concluded.

Before that, Abina Morris, the attorney representing Carlington Godfrey, urged the court to return a verdict of not guilty for her client.

WITNESS CREDIBILITY

“The Crown has not proved the case against Mr Godfrey beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said.

Making closing arguments later in the trial on behalf of Rannaldo McKennis, attorney-at-law Donald Bryan pointed out that the major issue in the trial was the credibility of the Crown’s key witness.

Attorney-at-law O’Neil Brown, who is representing Derval Williams, will continue making closing arguments today after his presentation was cut short with the adjournment.

At the beginning of the proceedings, the prosecution outlined its case against each of the men, which was also submitted to the court in writing.

Williams, Powell, Godfrey, Copeland Sankey, Rannaldo McKennis, and Christon Grant are on trial for breaches of Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) 2014 in relation to crimes committed between 2016 and 2018.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com