Wed | Nov 25, 2020

GUILTY - Uchence Wilson, cronies convicted in telling twist in gang trial

Published:Friday | October 9, 2020 | 12:15 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
A prisoner transport vehicle waits outside the Supreme Court building in Kingston where the Uchence Wilson Gang trial was under way on Thursday, October 8, 2020.
A prisoner transport vehicle waits outside the Supreme Court building in Kingston where the Uchence Wilson Gang trial was under way on Thursday, October 8, 2020.

The alleged mastermind of the Uchence Wilson Gang exhaled heavily on Thursday as Chief Justice Bryan Sykes found him and several cronies guilty on several major charges.

It is a major turn in the course of the case.

Up until yesterday, for consecutive days, several of the accused were freed of charges because there was lack of evidence, according to the presiding judge.

Wilson was found guilty of three big counts (47, 50, and 51) of the indictment against him.

The prosecution led evidence that on August 9, 2017, Wilson used an illegal firearm to unload on the police during an incident.

Sykes said that Wilson, by his own account, verified the testimony of a senior cop who had taken the stand during the trial.

The cop had recounted an incident in which police personnel, acting on information from a crony of the alleged gang leader, went to accost him and were involved in an exchange of gunfire in which Wilson was injured.

For that, he was found guilty of illegal possession of a firearm and shooting with intent.

Sykes also found that Wilson, Sheldon Christian, Odeen Smith, and Lanworth Geohagen were guilty of facilitating a serious offence by a criminal organisation when they carried out an armed robbery in Kellits, Clarendon, on July 21, 2017.

Another 13 of the remaining accused were found guilty of being part of a criminal organisation.

In his summation, Sykes made it clear that according to the law, persons can be charged of being part of a criminal gang even without committing crime.

The chief justice explained that once it has been established that three or more individuals come together with a common purpose of carrying out criminal acts, the charge can be laid.

Another alleged gang member, Stephenson Bennett, and Wilson were also found guilty of facilitating a serious offence by a criminal organisation.

Earlier, Donovan Cole, another alleged member of the Uchence Wilson Gang, was found not guilty of being part of a criminal organisation and knowingly providing a benefit to a criminal organisation.

Sykes said that the information that the prosecution provided was insufficient to prove that Cole was part of, or benefited from, a gang.

The gang, which is said to have wreaked havoc in St Catherine, Clarendon, St Andrew, St Mary, Manchester, Trelawny, and St Ann, was busted in December 2017.

It is said that the gang gained more than $400 million from its illegal activities across the island and was linked to 12 licensed firearms that were reported stolen during 18 robberies.

The chief justice will continue his summation today.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com