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Cop arrested in gang bust to be charged with murder, robbery, court told

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

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The detective corporal who was apprehended last weekend when police smashed a major criminal gang is to face murder and robbery charges.

The disclosure was made in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court after his attorney, Peter Champagnie, raised concern that the cop is being held at a station where he is exposed.

Champagnie argued that members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) who find themselves on the wrong side of the law are normally kept “at a certain location”, meaning away from the general population.

Champagnie told the court that when he went to visit the cop on Monday at approximately 5:30 pm, a prisoner was able to point him out.

“Champagnie, a di officer you come to visit, see him over deh suh,” the attorney said he was told by a prisoner.

The attorney told the court that the cop's wife, who was present in court yesterday, was unable to assist him because she was clueless as to what was happening with her husband.

By this time, the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime (C-TOC) Investigation Branch liaison officer told the court that the policeman is expected to face an identification parade and that he will be charged for various offences, including robbery and murder.

Parish Judge Maxine Ellis, who was not minded to make an order, said she was not going to make a comment but noted that the police knew what they are doing.

“Maybe where he should be held is unavailable,” Ellis told Champagnie.

“It is available,” Champagnie responded, adding that he had done his research.

Nevertheless, Ellis pointed out that members of the JCF must pay careful attention to the accused cop and keep him out of harm's way.

The court is expected to revisit the matter on Friday.

The cop was among 15 people who were arrested under the anti-gang legislation early Saturday morning when the police effectively crippled the gang.

During the operation, two individuals linked to a car parts dealership that the police said is responsible for disposing of stolen property obtained by the criminals, along with three women, were arrested.

Head of C-TOC Assistant Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey made the disclosure at a press briefing at his office on Orange Street in downtown Kingston on Monday.

ACP Bailey also disclosed that the gangsters have gained over $400 million from their illegal activities across the island and were responsible for 12 of the 15 licensed firearms that were reported stolen during 18 robberies.

Prior to Saturday's operation, 10 people, including a 27-year-old man who the police say is the leader of the 40-member gang, had been arrested. The gang has been wreaking havoc in St Catherine, Clarendon, St Andrew, St Mary, Manchester, Trelawny, and St Ann, the police have said.

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