‘I give orders’
Convicted ‘Blackman’ admits to instructing gang members to commit acts of violence, appeals for cronies to receive mercy
After quoting scriptures for the second day in a row, notorious leader of the One Don Gang, Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan, yesterday boldly declared that he is the one and only don ahead of his sentencing on Monday. Bryan also admitted that he had given his cronies orders to carry out violent acts.
The 38-year-old musician, who was found guilty of leadership of a criminal organisation and seven counts of facilitating the commission of a serious offence by a criminal organisation, had previously denied leading the much-feared St Catherine criminal entity, which is a splinter of the Clansman Gang.
During the trial, two former gang members, Bryan’s personal driver and the gang’s banker, as well as another who was the gang’s driver and a community don, gave shocking evidence in which they detailed the organisation’s operation and the multiple killings and shootings ordered by the leader.
“Is the don talking and there is no other don, any other don a Clarendon, is the Teacha talking, one Teacha and God alone is the teacher. God is the don…” Bryan said yesterday after he was given 10 minutes to complete his address, which started on Monday.
The two ex-witnesses had testified during the trial that ‘Teacha’ was one of one of the names used by Bryan.
Bryan, during his burble, also questioned why mercy was not extended to his co-defendants as it was done to the two ex-members.
“I give orders, instruction, they were all under influence, same fi witnesses who got pardoned, I don’t know a who pardon dem,” Bryan said.
“By precept, all of dem should have been pardoned and you take me in,”’ he added.
Bryan is among 15 convicts who will be sentenced for their roles in the gang and were before the Home Circuit Court where their respective lawyers made their plea-in mitigation.
Before begging for mercy for the gangsters, Bryan, who is sporting a short Rastafarian hairstyle and had a wild and aloof appearance, stated that the truth must be known.
‘NO ONE KNOWS’
“All these accused, they have been around me ‘yes’, but they don’t know, they ongle see wat de eye see, no one knows. The truth must be told and, by precept, we come to understanding,” he said.
Bryan, further in his maundering, said, “By principle and precept there is only one law and that is common law; there is only sense and that is common sense.”
As persos in the courtroom were overheard wondering whether he was going insane, Bryan continued, “I never went to no ford or no college, I am not an ox, I never went to no ford or water or knowledge but I am a well, well being, one well and known.”
Turning to the judge and making reference to a photo of the Jamaican coat of arms, which is above the judge’s chairs, he said, “Every time I come in this court, I have to bow to that reptilian over your head, the same reptilian that gave Eve the basket to eat from that basket.”
Bryan had insisted on addressing the court despite strong advice from senior counsel, Lloyd McFarlane, who had threatened to abandon him if he went ahead and spoke.
Earlier, before Bryan addressed the court, lawyers for the three remaining gangsters sought to persuade the judge to extend mercy upon them.
Alexander Shaw, during his mitigation for Andre Golding, who is convicted for being a member, said his client is not unrepentant and is pleading for mercy for a new lease on life.
“He says he can blame himself for his actions,” Shaw submitted.
The lawyer asked the judge to consider the residents’ request for mercy on his behalf even though the non-custodial sentence that they are asking for is “a stretch”.
He also asked the judge to bear in mind the residents’ report that Golding, who was a small business operator, was forced into gang activities and had to pretend to be a gangster to survive.
Meanwhile, attorney-at-law Diandra Bramwell, who spoke on behalf of the ex-soldier, Jermaine Robinson, said that, though he was maintaining that he was only found guilty of being a member because of his association with some of the gangsters, he was aware of the impact of gang violence on the society.
At the same time, Bramwell said the situation has also taught him a valuable lesson and that, “while others are sleeping he is up most nights reflecting on his past and how he can be a better man”.
Additionally, Bramwell shared that one of Robinson’s greatest desires was to reunite with his two young children, one of whom was born while he was in jail and asked the judge to bear that in mind when he is deciding his sentence.
Bramwell also mitigated for Jahzeal Blake, who was convicted for membership and two counts of facilitating the commission of a serious offence by a criminal organisation.
She said the barber and welder was remorseful about the pain and disappointment that he had caused to his relatives and members of his community.
But the lawyer said her client has taken the four years that he has spent in prison to deeply reflect on the life he lived and the future he now wants, which is one in which he can make a positive contribution to society, give back to his community and be a positive role model for his daughter.
In the meantime, all 15 convicts were remanded and are to return to court on Monday when the judge will start handing down the sentences.
Thirty-three defendants were initially hauled before the court, 17 were freed and one was killed. Of the 17 who were freed, five of them were previously conceded by the prosecution following the no-case submission by the defence.