Wed | May 25, 2022

Witness quizzed on money he got from protection unit

Published:Friday | May 13, 2022 | 12:12 AMAndre Williams/Staff Reporter

The window of opportunity for defence lawyers in the Clansman-One Don Gang trial to further cross-examine the main witness was closed yesterday and the matter against Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan and 32 accused adjourned until May 24.

The main witness, a confessed former top-tier gang member and Bryan’s driver, had secretly recorded conversations with some of the alleged gangsters on three cellular phones, which have been tendered into evidence.

The prosecution wrapped up its case on Tuesday; however, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes granted the session yesterday after attorney-at-law Kymani Brydson, who is representing three of the defendants, requested to have the prosecution’s main witness recalled to the stand for further cross-examination.

Brydson was the only defence attorney who quizzed the main witness on Thursday, and Sykes advised lawyers who may want to have other witnesses recalled to inform the Crown or the registrar by May 17.

Brydson yesterday asked the witness whether the persons on the line knew they were being recorded. He also asked him to confirm whether he had made the recordings.

The witness told the court that the persons did not know that the conversations were being taped and that the device automatically recorded the calls.

In one of the recordings revisited yesterday, the main witness said that he was given $94,500 by the state protection unit to buy clothes and food.

“Were you offered or given this money before you were being treated as a witness or after?” Brydson asked.

“Sir, this money was to buy some clothes and grocery, Sir,” the witness said.

“That money was sent by the protection unit to buy grocery and clothes,” he repeated.

The recordings played yesterday involved the witness talking to the lead investigator.

Brydson questioned why there was a lowering of the voice of the witness and suggested that the device was malfunctioning.

The witness acknowledged a drop in his voice but said the device was okay. He further added that he was not an expert and could not explain the reason for the drop in volume.

Come May 24, defence attorneys will start to argue their respective cases before Sykes.

The number of defendants for whom no-case submissions will be made is not yet known.

The prosecution was previously instructed to share an outline of its case against each defendant with the registrar and defence by May 20.

The defendants are being tried on an indictment with 25 counts under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) Act and the Firearms Act.

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com