Sun | Feb 16, 2020

King Valley Gang Trial| Chief Justice again bashes tardy cops

Published:Friday | January 24, 2020 | 3:04 PM
File photo

Danae Hyman, Gleaner Writer

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes today blasted members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) who were to take the witness stand in the trial of the alleged members of the Westmoreland-based King Valley gang. 

Court hearings typically start at 10:00 a.m, but the trial could not resume as the police witnesses were absent by almost an hour.

“Are we going to do any work or are we going to sit here the whole day. I need to know what the position is. It is now 10 minutes to 11:00. We can't sit here waiting and waiting with no end in sight and no witnesses here to testify, not one. No court can operate like that, something must happen, this is absolutely outrageous,” Sykes said. 

He noted that all but one of the witnesses down to testify were JCF member.

The judge argued that the failure of members of the police force to be respectful of the court’s time is not a problem just in his court but islandwide. 

Last week, Sykes again criticised the JCF for failing to assign one of its members to stand guard at the remote location where a crown witness was testifying via link, forcing the adjournment of the trial for that day.  

“When I spoke about this last week people were like ‘oh the Chief Justice shouldn’t have said those things’. The attorneys are here waiting, the court workers are here waiting. I am required to be here but I know the attorneys have things to do,” he said. 

A senior prosecutor from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions disclosed that while she could not give the exact time when the witnesses would arrive, she said the cops were travelling from Westmoreland.

The witnesses eventually arrived to at 11:00 a.m. and the trial proceeded.

Alleged gangsters Rannaldo McKennis, Christon Grant, Carlington Godfrey, Lindell Powell, Derval Williams, Hopeton Stanley, Copeland Sankey and Sean Suckra are on trial for various breaches of the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) 2014 Act, commonly called the anti-gang legislation, in relation to crimes committed between 2016 and 2018.

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