Heat on cop

Lawyers pepper sergeant about ID parade for accused Uchence Wilson gangster

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, April 06, 2019

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A police sergeant who conducted the identification parade for some of the men believed to be members of the Uchence Wilson Gang, was yesterday accused of using information that he had allegedly written in the palm of his hand to help him identify one of the accused during the trial.

Attorney Denise Hinson, who was asking questions on behalf of attorney Pamela Shoucair-Gayle for her client Jermaine Stewart, told the officer at the end of cross-examination that he had not acted fairly after he positively identified Stewart as the man whom the witness had pointed out during the parade.

“The only reason why you were able to identify Stewart was because of what you had looked at in your left palm and whatever was there assisted you,” Hinson said.

But this was quickly denied by the sergeant, who said, “ No ma'am.”

The attorney, who maintained that the identification parade conducted by the sergeant was unfair, suggested to the policeman that an attorney who had accompanied the witness to the parade stayed in the room in which the parade was being held through the process, but the sergeant said he could not recall if the attorney was present. He said further that had the attorney been there he would have made a note of it.

Hinson also enquired from the sergeant if the witness had attended the parade, wearing a white covering over his head with two slits in the region of his eyes, but the sergeant could not recall.

The lawyer further told him that Shoucair-Gayle, who was present at the parade, had objected and indicated that the parade was not fair, as she could not see the witness' face, but the sergeant said he did not remember her raising any objection.

“I am suggesting that you responded and said why the witness cannot remove his face covering is because he is in protective custody,” Hinson pointed out to the sergeant, who again indicated that he could not recall saying those words.

Hinson said Shoucair-Gayle had then asked for the witness' name and was denied that information, but the sergeant said he did not recall that as well.

The sergeant was also told by Hinson that he sometimes goes to the lock-up to look at a suspect before the parade, to ensure that he is the right person, as he told the court, was highly irregular.

But the sergeant, who had earlier pointed out that this was done in cases in which the witness refuses to attend or was not brought, maintained that the practise was not irregular.

The sergeant also came under more heat from attorneys Sasha-Gaye Shaw, who is representing Odeen Smith, and Cecile Griffith-Ashton, who is representing Keron Walter. Both lawyers suggested that the two witnesses who attended the parade wore hazmat suits during the identification process.

Shaw suggested that one of the witnesses wore a mask, but the sergeant said he could not recall the witness wearing a mask. However, he said he did recall that one of them was dressed in a suit which had on a head covering, but that someone had asked the witness to pull down the head covering and he complied.

The sergeant, while being grilled about the identification parade, admitted to making errors which he claimed were all “typo errors”.

Claims of errors related to the date on which the notice for the identification parade was served on Walters, and the officer who had signed the notice, as well as the name of a lawyer who was present at the identification parade for Stewart, were queried by the lawyers.

Reputed gang leader Uchence Wilson and 23 of his co-accused, including four women and a police corporal, are being tried on various charges, including breaches of the Criminal (Justice Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act and the Firearms Act.

The trial will continue on Monday before Chief Justice Bryan Sykes.


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