Thu | Jan 27, 2022

INDECOM kept in dark about 3rd gangster

Witness was driver of car in which gunmen killed, court told

Published:Tuesday | December 7, 2021 | 12:10 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

The lead detective in the Clansman-One Don Gang trial admitted on Monday that he had not informed the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) about the eyewitness, an ex-gang member, who he had whisked away from the scene of a fatal shooting on Garbally Drive, Spanish Town, St Catherine, in 2019.

Two alleged gangsters were killed in the incident.

“But at any time had I been asked, he would have been made available,” the witness said during cross-examination by attorney-at-law Denise Hinson, who grilled him about his reasons for not informing the investigative body about the witness.

The investigator also testified in the Home Circuit Court that he had not informed his colleague, who was probing the fatal shooting, about the witness, although they had spoken more than once.

He also admitted that he had not put in his statement, which he took eight months to write, that he had seen the witness.

The men were reportedly killed by the police after the ex-gangster, the prosecution’s second witness, had tipped off the lawmen that the alleged ex-cronies would be travelling with illegal firearms. The witness had disclosed that he had left his phone line open for the police to track the movements of the car in which the men were travelling.

The prosecution’s second witness was the driver of the car in which both men were fatally shot.

However, the investigator had previously testified that he went to the scene quickly after the shooting and transported the visibly shaken-up witness to a safe house.

The officer had also told the court that prior to the shooting, he and another officer travelled to Martin Street in an unmarked car where they had spotted two alleged gunmen on foot but that the gangsters boarded a Brown Axio and eluded the police during a chase.

He said while searching for the alleged gunmen, he was told about the shooting and visited the scene, where he saw the same car in which the two men were travelling.

However, while being questioned on Monday about his non-disclosure to INDECOM, the police witness told Hinson that he had no reason to have done so. He insisted that he would have made the witness available if a request had been made.

At the same time, the police witness said he did not think he was obligated to give the witness’ name to INDECOM.

He denied that he had taken the witness out of INDECOM’s reach.

During further cross-examination from Hinson, the police witness told the court that it would have been suicidal to intercept the car in which the men were travelling as he and the other officer were not equipped to confront them at the time.

The police witness denied a suggestion from attorney-at-law Kemar Robinson that the rifle he had testified had been handed to him by the ex-gangster was found in Port Royal Street.

The investigator said he was not aware of any rifle being retrieved in that area on the day he had testified he had collected the weapon from the ex-gangster.

The officer rejected the lawyer’s suggestion that he has been moving exhibits in other investigations and using them in the gang case.

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes told the defence on Monday that many of the questions that were being asked were unnecessary.

He reminded the defence attorneys that they were in a judge-alone trial and that he would not be analysing the evidence through the lens of a jury.

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.

tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com