Tue | Jan 25, 2022

Phone used to record accused admitted into evidence

Published:Friday | November 26, 2021 | 8:28 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

The prosecution in the Clansman-One Don Gang trial yesterday succeeded in getting one of the three cellular phones used to secretly record the conversations of alleged members of the gang, including its reputed leader Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan, admitted into evidence.

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 the accused and had handed them over to the police.

The ex-gangster told the court that two of the phones were provided by the police while Bryan had sponsored the third after he told him that his phone was not working properly.

The prosecution on Tuesday had attempted to have the recordings and transcripts admitted into evidence after calling two police witnesses who had prepared the transcripts, but the defence objected, saying that no evidence had been presented to establish the chain of custody, safekeeping, and integrity of the compact disc.

The prosecution on Wednesday returned with a new strategy, calling to the stand four police witnesses who were involved in the handling of the phones and recordings.

The lead investigating officer, a detective sergeant, who is among the four officers, has testified that he had given the former gangster two cellular phones to record the conversations and had collected them and submitted them to police’s Communication Forensic and Cybercrime Division at the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch.

But yesterday, only one of the phones was tendered into evidence.

The other faced an identity hiccup after the police sergeant was unable to open the device to retrieve the phone’s unique identification number.

Meanwhile, the chief investigator yesterday corroborated the testimony of the prosecution’s second witness that he had handed over two of the gang’s guns to the police.

The police witness told the court that he received a Ruger 99 and a rifle, which appeared unusual and was unknown to him.

He told the court that he had accompanied the ex-gangster to Jones Avenue in Spanish Town, St Catherine, to collect the rifle under the guise that he was the ex-gangster’s uncle.

Two other policemen had travelled behind him and the witness in another car, the court was told.

The police witness said he had driven the ex-gangster’s car, and when they arrived at the location, one man brought the 9mm gun in a scandal bag and gave it to the witness while another brought the ammunition in a bottle, after the prosecution’s second witness had asked about the “teeth”.

The prosecution’s second witness had previously told the court that he had handed over the 9mm to the police after lying to Blackman about wanting it to borrow it to kill someone and had received permission.

The court had also heard that the witness had gone to Jones Avenue that day to drop off the payment for a gun which the gang was buying and to collect the weapon.

In respect to the rifle, the police witness recalled meeting the witness at a gas station in St Catherine and collecting the rifle, which was wrapped in a sheet.

The prosecution second witness had testified that he had used the guise that he was going to take the gun to the gang’s firearm repairman to have it fixed, but turned it over to the police instead.

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.

The One Don Gang is a breakaway faction of the Clansman Gang.

The lead investigator will return to the stand when the case resumes today.