Mon | Nov 29, 2021

Rattled by defence, witness blames nerves for inconsistencies

Published:Tuesday | October 26, 2021 | 12:10 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

Yesterday a former member of the One Don Gang blamed nervousness for several glaring inconsistencies between his statements and his testimony in court. However, the witness rejected suggestions from the attorney of reputed gang leader Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan that he had lied to the court.

The prosecution witness, who faced the hot seat Monday afternoon in the Home Circuit Court during a fiery cross-examination from attorney Lloyd McFarlane, also admitted to making a number of omissions in his statement.

“As I said, it was the first time I was talking to the police, and I was nervous,” the self-confessed gangster kept repeating amid laughter from the court, as McFarlane grilled him.

When also asked about one of the alleged shootings about which he had testified but had not mentioned in his statement, the witness said, “They never asked, and I think time was running out.”

“What!” McFarlane shouted as if in disbelief. “Now you really gone bad now.”

The witness later admitted that he had given his statement to the police over a five-day period in January 2020.

The self-confessed former gangster, who described his chief role as being Bryan’s personal driver, banker, and financial controller, had initially shied away from admitting to the inconsistencies, claiming he would need to refresh his memory.

Phone call confusion

In one instance, he was asked about the evidence he had given to the police in relation to ‘Outlaw’, who he had testified was killed by the gang in Lauriston, St Catherine, on Bryan’s order.

“You told the court that after the shooting, Richie called you and told Bryan that Outlaw was dead,” McFarlane said.

The lawyer also reminded the witness that he had testified that the call had come five to 10 minutes after the shooting and that he had told the court that he was driving away with Blackman from the area and had heard the gunshots.

However, when McFarlane asked him if he remembered telling the police in his statement that Richie had called about 30 minutes after the shooting, the witness said he would have to read his statement.

The lawyer then told him that it was not so long ago that he had testified, but the witness replied, “It’s time. Everybody makes mistakes with time sometimes.”

He then repeated his testimony saying it was he who Richie had called and that he had informed Bryan that Outlaw was killed.

“But you told the police in your statement that it was Blackman who had gotten the call,” McFarlane said.

The witness again reported,”I don’t know. I have to look at my statement.”

“What happening now? You not remembering well or what?” McFarlane asked, to which the witness quickly answered, “I am remembering perfectly well.”

The witness, however, admitted that he had made an error, saying, “When I was talking to the police, I was nervous.”

But he insisted that his evidence in court was the truth.

Other inconsistencies

The lawyer then pointed to another inconsistency in the statement in which the witness could not remember if he had transported Bryan to Bryan’s home or to the witness’ home after the shooting. He had testified in court that after the shooting, he had carried Bryan to Bryan’s home, and that on his return, he had stopped and bought KFC for his bodyguard.

“Why you now remembering everything? Even after you carried Blackman home, you stop and get KFC.

“How you memory get so good, or is it because you telling lies?” McFarlane fired at the witness.

Suggesting that the statement remained substantially the same, the witness said: “It’s just a few different things.”

Another inconsistency surrounded an incident in which the witness had not told the police in his statement that he saw a woman with guns in her purse during one of the gang’s alleged missions. In his court testimony, he had testified to having seen the guns and trying to hide them in the back seat of the car he was driving. He again blamed the discrepancy on nervousness.

“You know you not being a good liar,” McFarlane told the witness, eliciting more laughter in the court.

The lawyer then suggested to the witness that the accounts he had given about the defendants were not true and that he had lied about Bryan being the leader and giving orders for persons to be killed. However, the witness firmly rejected those claims.

In the meantime, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes demanded a report on the witness’ medical condition after he complained about cramps and asked to break for the day.

The judge, who was visibly annoyed, noted that the witness appeared to be making a habit of complaining about cramps at a certain point in the day.

Consequently, the judge, who adjourned the trial 30 minutes earlier than usual, asked for a report to be submitted Tuesday morning detailing the witness’ medical issues.

Bryan and 32 other alleged gang members are being tried on an indictment with 25 counts under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) Act and the Firearms Act, to which they have all pleaded not guilty.

tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com