Defence lawyers object to witness sharing details in gang trial

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Defence lawyers object to witness sharing details in gang trial

Thursday, January 16, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The ongoing trial of eight alleged members of the Westmoreland-based King Valley Gang or Lawless Gang this morning hit another bump after three defence lawyers raised objections on behalf of their clients about details being shared by the crown's star witness.

Those objections resulted in trial judge chief justice Bryan Sykes granting a request from the defence attorneys for an almost two-hour adjournment to allow them to be able to assess two legal authorities served by the prosecution in defence of the evidence being given by the witness.

The witness, who began testifying via live video link from a remote location on Tuesday, this morning told the court that in addition to robberies, scamming, shootings and hitmen work, members of the gang had also raped a number of women. He was in the process of detailing the rapes and the individuals involved when defence attorneys for three of the accused who were named objected.

The attorneys argued that the year in which the witness said the rapes were committed had not been included on the indictment presented by the prosecution and as such prejudiced their clients unfairly and should not be allowed. The prosecution, however, in rebuttal cited case law which it said proved that the date was not material and should not prevent the evidence being given.

The defence lawyers, however, requested time to conference and bolster its objection.

The trial will resume at 2:00 this afternoon.

The eight men are charged in an indictment containing 11 counts and are accused of facilitating serious offences – conspiring to commit murder, rape, indecent assault and robberies with aggravation from as early as 2013. On Wednesday the trial was forced to adjourn prematurely for the entire day due to the absence of a constable of the Jamaica Constabulary Force in the room from which the witness was testifying. Justice Sykes, who appeared promptly at 10 for the start of the trial, was told some 70 minutes later than an officer would not be in place for another hour. Deeming the situation unacceptable, he adjourned the trial until 10:00 am this morning.

Alicia Dunkley-Willis

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