Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Gang? What gang? - Accused say clueless about Westmoreland crime syndicate

Published:Wednesday | February 5, 2020 | 12:00 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

Subjecting themselves to questioning from the prosecution, alleged members of the King Valley Gang denied knowing or being part of the criminal organisation that has been accused of mounting a reign of terror in Westmoreland.

First to take the stand yesterday was Derval Williams, who said that he knew nothing about the King Valley Gang or any other.

He also said that he was unaware of the Lawless Gang, the criminal precursor to which a Crown witness made reference before it adopted a new name.

Williams, one of six men on trial, was responding to questions by his attorney, O’Neil Brown, who also asked about his familiarity with other accused.

In response, the witness said he was familiar with two of the accused, Copeland Sankey and Rannaldo McKennis.

During testimony by the self-proclaimed former gangster, who cannot be named because of a court order, Williams was identified as sponsor for the gang, bankrolling their criminal network with money, guns, bulletproof vests, and live rounds.

But when asked by Brown, the witness said, “No, sir.”

While under cross-examination by a member of prosecution, Williams was asked about his relationship with his co-accused, Sankey and Rannaldo.

Williams said he would usually “pass and hail” the men on occasion when he saw any of them.

When asked about providing money and weapons to alleged gang members, Williams denied the claim, at one point saying, “Me and this man never have a conversation before” – in reference to the Crown witness.

A similar position was taken by accused Christon Grant when questioned by his attorney, Sean Osbourne.

Grant, who said he operates a farm store in Grange Hill, Westmoreland, denied knowing about any gang.

“What criminal organisation?” he asked, responding to his attorney during the trial at the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.

BUSINESS LEGITIMACY QUESTIONED

Grant also insisted that he had never visited the community of King Valley, even when doing business.

“Mi no even go there so,” he said, later adding, “People who buy feeding and want me go leave it at Ken’s shop, I would send my delivery team over there.”

But under cross-examinations, the prosecution questioned the legitimacy of his business.

When asked about his business’ phone number, he said he did not recall.

He was also asked about his use of Facebook to advertise.

Grant told the court that his girlfriend, with whom he operates the enterprise, uses his Facebook account to advertise the business.

The prosecution also asked Grant if he knew about scamming.

He said, “I hear it on the news.”

Copeland Sanky, who also took the stand, also denied being part of any criminal organisation.

Williams, Sankey, McKennis, Grant, Lindell Powell and Carlington Godfrey are on trial for breaches of Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) 2014, commonly called the anti-gang legislation, in relation to crimes committed between 2016 and 2018.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com