Thu | Jan 27, 2022

‘Blackman’ remembered green-shirted cop on day he was charged, court told

Published:Thursday | December 2, 2021 | 12:12 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

The lead investigator in the One Don Gang case yesterday revealed that it took the police about a year to bring anti-gang charges against the reputed leader of the gang, Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan, after he was detained in a predawn raid at his St Andrew apartment.

The detective sergeant testified in the Home Circuit Court that Bryan’s mother, Milicent Brown; his brother, Kevaughn Green; and his girlfriend, Alicia Brown, were also taken into custody during the operation.

He further told the court that he had been a part of the police team which surprised the alleged don and his family at the apartment.

The two women were also slapped with anti-gang charges, but not in this case.

Milicent was charged with being part of a criminal organisation by facilitating the commission of serious offence and obtaining a benefit from the criminal organisation, but her matter came to end after the prosecution entered a nolle prosequi.

The matter against Alicia, who was charged with providing a benefit to a criminal organisation, was also dismissed.

Continuing his testimony, the detective told the court that, on the day in question, he was seeing Bryan for the first time and was shocked at his size.

“Looking at his structure, I was saying, ‘A yuh a di don fi Jones Avenue?’,” he recalled saying to Bryan during a casual conversation outside the house on the day of the raid.

However, the court did not get to hear what was Bryan’s alleged response or the rest of the conversation, as Bryan’s lawyer, Lloyd McFarlane, objected and the prosecution abandoned further questions about the conversation after Chief Justice Bryan Sykes questioned the relevance.

The police witness testified that he next saw Bryan roughly a year later when he went to press charges against him at Kingston Central Police Station.

He recalled that, when he went to Bryan’s cell, the defendant immediately recognised him and, after calling him by his last name, said, “You again?”

The witness, who remembered that he was clad in a green shirt, said, when he asked Bryan if he knew him, the alleged gangster said, “Green shirt.”

When asked to explain, Bryan reportedly said: “When you come a di apartment, you was wearing a green shirt. Now you come back in a green shirt.”

The officer said he then informed Bryan that he was doing a gang investigation and that he was a suspect.

However, he said the alleged gang leader, who was charged with leadership of a criminal organisation and being a part of a criminal organisation, did not comment when cautioned.

Bryan and his brother were among nine defendants identified in court by the witness yesterday as persons he had charged.

The witness, who began identifying the defendants on Monday, has so far pointed out 27 of the 33 defendants who are on trial.

CHALLENGE WITH PHONE DATA

Meanwhile, earlier in the trial yesterday, the prosecution informed the court that it would provide an update on Friday regarding the outstanding telephone data yet to be submitted by the country’s two main telecoms providers.

The lead investigator disclosed on Monday that the police had challenges obtaining phones collected from several of the 33 defendants and the three cell phones that were used by a former gang member to secretly record the conversations of alleged gangsters.

Sykes, who expressed shock at the disclosure on Monday, told the prosecution that it should inform the court on whether it will be relying on the data that it is expecting, and to decide whether if it will be relying on moral suasion or the powers of the court to get the crucial telephone data.

Reputed leader Andre ‘Blackman’ 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 police witness, who has been on the stand for more than a week, will continue his testimony today.

tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com