Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Admission of two secret gang recording transcripts blocked

Published:Wednesday | November 24, 2021 | 12:12 AM

Two of three transcripts of the secret recordings of alleged members of the One Don Gang were blocked on Tuesday from being entered into evidence after defence lawyers raised objections.

The prosecution’s first police witness and the third of 42 in the Clansman-One Don Gang trial testified in the Home Circuit Court that she had spent more than a year transcribing the recordings, which she had received on a compact disc.

The court heard that the witness had prepared two documents, including one which had more than 175 pages.

The witness told the court that she completed the transcription this year.

According to the police witness, the prosecution’s second witness was present and had identified the voices and had also listened and checked the transcripts for errors.

The prosecution’s second witness, a former top-tier member of the gang, had testified that he had secretly recorded phone conversations that he had with key alleged members of the gang, including the reputed leader Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan and the lone alleged female gangster Stephanie Christie, and had handed them over to the police.

After the prosecution had adduced evidence from the police witness about how the transcripts had been prepared, the Crown proceeded to have the documents tendered into evidence.

However, defence lawyers objected to the move.

Attorney-at-law Lloyd McFarlane, who is representing Bryan, objected on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to identify the voices in the recordings.

Fellow attorney Kymani Brydson challenged the admission of the documents, arguing that there was no evidence about the safekeeping and integrity of the recording.

He also noted that the second witness, in his evidence, had testified that the transcripts had three signatures.

The lawyer said that he would not be accepting any other document other than the one that the witness had spoken about.

Brydson is representing defendants Tomrick Taylor, Owen Ormsby, and Daniel McKenzie.

Attorney-at-law Walter Melbourne, who is representing defendant Damaine Elliston, also objected on the basis of provenance.

He argued that there was no evidence indicating the origin of the compact discs and the chain of custody.

“I am saying that the witness received the compact disc. We do not know where it came from. It’s as if it came from nowhere,” he argued.

Following the objections, the presiding judge, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, accepted the objections as reasonable points and ruled that the prosecution would need to submit further evidence on the origin of the compact disc and the chain of custody before the documents can be tendered as evidence.

He, however, accepted a request from the prosecution for the transcripts to be marked for identity.

In the meantime, a second police witness who had prepared one of the transcripts will continue giving evidence about how that document was prepared on Wednesday.

She has so far indicated that she had received a compact disc with the recordings in February 2019 and had started transcribing them along with WhatsApp recordings in the company of the ex-gangster.