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Lottery scam accused fails to show in court; bench warrant issued for arrest

BY TANESHA MUNDLE Observer staff reporter mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, May 07, 2014    

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THE court yesterday issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Westmoreland resident Oshaine Rankine, who failed to show up in court yesterday to answer to charges relating to the lottery scam.

Rankine, along with entertainer Leroy Russell, better known as Tommy Lee Sparta, Shanice James of Flankers district in St James, Sabrina Williams and O'Brien Smith, both of Brompton Road, Kingston 5, were arrested in February and charged with breaches of the Law Reform (Fraudulent Transaction) (Special Provisions) Act, following the alleged discovery of paraphernalia related to lottery.

Senior Magistrate Judith Pusey issued the bench warrant in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court after Rankine's surety, who bailed him in the sum of $500,000, told the court that he was unable to locate Rankine and had not seen him since last Friday.

"We have a serious problem, when people take up the responsibility of bailing people they must understand that it is a big responsibility," RM Pusey told the court.

Attorney Chris Tavares-Finson, who was holding for Rankine's lawyer, asked the magistrate to stay the warrant until the next court date, but the magistrate refused.

RM Pusey said that prosecution normally objects to bail in matters of this nature and that the court cannot stay the warrant as Rankine should be present in court for his hearing.

Rankine's co-accused, however, had their bail extended until May 28.

According to the police, on February 3, members of the New Kingston police were conducting a routine stop and search operation along Knutsford Boulevard when a motorist was accused of breaching the Road Traffic Act. The motorist did not have a driver's licence in his possession and gave a name, which police said turned out to be fictitious.

The driver and two occupants of the motor vehicle were subsequently detained and the lottery scam task force called in following further investigations by the police.

The investigations, police said, led officers to a house on Brompton Road in Kingston where items suspected to be used in the lottery scam were seized.

Rankine, 25, who is from Dalling Street in Westmoreland, is also facing a charge of murder connection with the shooting death of Ramar Cunningham and the wounding of another man in Lilliput, St James, last October.

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