'Bailer man' ends up behind bars

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, September 22, 2017

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A man who posted bail for one of three accused murderers is now in jail after the accused man and his co-accused ran off while their trial was in session at the Home Circuit Court.

But the case of Kenneth Walker, who apparently makes a living from standing surety for accused individuals, got more interesting after he was held on Wednesday.

As it turned out, Walker showed up at the court to bail another accused person but was remanded after he told the court that he could not come up with the $300,000, the amount for which he had stood surety for the murder accused — Devon Harriott — who is now on the run.

Harriott, Oshane Coley, and Michael Jacobs are on trial for the alleged gun murder of Craig Lewis at his St Catherine home in December 2009.

Lewis was at his home on December 9, about 6:00 am, ironing when three men barged in and shot him multiple times. However, five days later he managed to give the police a detailed statement identifying the men who had shot him before he succumbed to his injuries on December 18.

The three men went missing on Wednesday after presiding judge Justice Martin Gayle ruled that Lewis' statement be admitted into evidence.

The issue relating to Walker was raised by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn before the trial, which is proceeding in the accused men's absence.

According to her, Walker was held by the police after he came to the Supreme Court to act as surety for another accused person, but two employees of the court recognised his name as the person who had bailed Harriott.

The DPP also told Justice Gayle that she thought it was in the best interest of the public to bring Walker before the court and to determine if he knows Harriott's current location.

According to the DPP, Walker had told police that he did not know Harriott.

Walker, in his defence, said: “Is a friend of mine introduce mi to him.”

He however indicated that, in addition to Harriott, he had stood surety for another person and was in the process of bailing a third person using his land title, which, he said, was valued at “a million-odd” [dollars].

The DPP told the judge that she was concerned that there are a number of people who are bailing individuals but are not fully aware of the responsibilities and consequences involved in providing surety.

The judge, in response, pointed out that there were some people who make a profession out of bailing individuals and who call themselves “bailer man”.

He then asked Walker how he benefited from bailing accused people .

“To tell yu the truth, sometimes yu get a money 'cause nothing naa gwaan,” Walker responded.

Gayle then told Walker that he would have to pay the court $300,000. However, Walker indicated that he did not have the money with him and would have to be released to go and get it.

“No, no it's not like that,” Justice Gayle said. “We want the money before we can release you.”

But Walker argued that the court should have revoked the accused men's bail once the trial had started.

“So you are blaming me now?” the judge asked.

“Not really, but dem case stiff and dem a try dem now,” Walker answered.

The judge however told Walker that he was going to give him until Friday to get the money and he would have to stay with the police until the money arrived.

In the meantime, the DPP said someone had called her office indicating that the three men were planning not to return to court and that the police are now searching for them, along with the two other individuals who stood as sureties.

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