Sun | Nov 17, 2019

Alleged Uchence Wilson Gang member claims police brutality - 7th accused walks free as trial continues

Published:Wednesday | July 17, 2019 | 12:26 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

An alleged member of the Uchence Wilson Gang whose role was allegedly to cut burglar bars to gain access to properties, according to a Crown witness, has claimed that he was beaten and threatened by police when he was apprehended on August 9, 2017.

Construction worker and father of six, Stephenson Bennett, told the court yesterday that he was chased into a cane field by a man who beat him with a gun and kicked him after he tripped and fell.

He said the man, who he later identified as a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), threatened him, saying, “You want me fi kill you?”

Before he was accosted, Bennett said he was on his way to St Catherine from Clarendon when his car got a flat tyre. After he changed the tyre and was ready to move off, a car drove up and men alighted from the vehicle brandishing guns.

Bennett said he then ran into the nearby cane field.

Testifying in the trial of reputed gang leader Uchence Wilson and his 17 alleged cronies at the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston, Bennett said that he was handcuffed and placed in a police service vehicle while the men said to be JCF members searched his vehicle.

He told the court that a piece of clothing was placed over his head and he was then transported to a location in St Catherine, where he claimed he was again a victim of police brutality.

According to Bennett, a policeman who arrived shortly after tased him, beat him and queried the whereabouts of the reputed gang leader.

Bennett said the policeman threatened to kill him and his family if he did not reveal Wilson’s location.

SEVERELY BEATEN

The alleged gang member said that he was then brought to a police station nearby, where he realised that he had been beaten severely, sustaining cuts and a swollen eye.

After complying with an order from the police to call Wilson, Bennett said he, along with police personnel, travelled to the reputed gang leader’s St Catherine home, where a confrontation between Wilson and the police ensued.

Wilson is said to have been shot during this incident.

Later in the trial, Machel Golbourne, who gave a sworn testimony, and Michael ‘Judge’ Lamont, who made an unsworn statement, both denied being part of, or having knowledge of, a gang.

Accused Devin Taylor, who is described by Crown witnesses as the main driver for the gang, also denied being part of any such organisation.

Meanwhile, Tashina Baker, the woman said to be the girlfriend of Fitzroy Scott, the alleged deputy leader of the Uchence Wilson Gang, was freed yesterday.

Presiding judge, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, indicated that the charges against Baker could not stand as the evidence was insufficient.

She joins six other alleged gang members who have been freed recently under similar conditions.

Wilson and his 17 alleged cronies are on trial for breaches of the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act 2014, commonly known as the Anti-Gang Legislation, between 2015 and 2017.

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

The trial will resume tomorrow as Sykes revealed that he has three official engagements scheduled for today.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com