Former gangster claims police dismissed him when he tried to report robberies

Observer staff reporter

Friday, March 15, 2019

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A former member of the Uchence Wilson gang yesterday claimed that he had visited the police commissioner's office with information about the gang's illegal activities but was dismissed and told that the case was too big for them to manage.

The 21-year-old Crown witness further testified under cross-examination in the Home Circuit Court that he had also visited numerous police stations, including Half-Way-Tree, Mandeville, and Matilda's Corner, but that no one took him seriously, as they did not believe him to be credible.

The ex-gang member, whom this newspaper is referring to as Witness One because the court has ordered that witnesses in the case remain anonymous, made the disclosure while he was being grilled by Attorney CJ Mitchell, who is representing the gang's alleged deputy leader, Fitzroy Scott, his girlfriend Tashena Baker, and Cornel White.

The witness, who has provided details on more than 12 robberies so far in the trial — via video link — also told the court that the police did not take a statement from him because they felt that the robberies were “make up stories” and because of the number of robberies.

He made the assertion about going to the commissioner's office and the police stations after testifying that following a robbery in Kellits, Clarendon, during which a man was robbed and shot, he reported the matter to the police a “couple days later”.

But Mitchell suggested to him that his story about the robbery in Kellits was fake and that he had lied about his client Scott being present and about firing gunshots at a house across the road.

“The bullet hole is up there in the wall,” Witness One replied.

“Tell me something, when you went to the commissioner's office, did you tell them about the bullet holes in the wall?” Mitchell asked.

“Yes, sir,” Witness One said.

“Did they go and check?” Mitchell pressed.

“Dem tell me that the case too big, dem cannot manage it,” Witness One replied.

The witness, who had yesterday morning claimed that one of his reasons for going to the police with information about the gang's activities was that he was being troubled by his conscience, was bombarded with questions from Mitchell about his guilty conscience while he was helping to commit the robberies.

But he told the court that from the first robbery he had been troubled by his conscience. However, he continued anyway and it was his feeling of guilt that ultimately led him to go to the police after he went to a family friend, who is a cop, who advised him to go to MOCA (Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency).

Witness One previously testified that he had helped the gang to rob a female relative of his. When he was asked by Mitchell if his conscience had not been a bother when he was robbing his relative, he said: “That's why I stay outside, because I couldn't bear to see my [female relative] being robbed.”

He also indicated that he had been influenced by the gang to participate in the robbery and that Scott admitted to him that he had robbed his own father so it was nothing.

When asked if his conscience had not bothered him enough to return his share of the stolen money to his relative, he replied: “She got some back. She never know it was coming out of her pocket.”

The response evoked laughter in the courtroom.

Mitchell then raised Witness One's testimony about the robbery of a taximan in St Catherine and asked him whether his conscience had also bothered him in that case. The witness said “yes”.

However, when Mitchell asked him if he was not moved by his conscience to return his share of the loot to the taximan, he said although he was troubled he did not think to return the money.

“So me a go look back fi a man weh mi rob and gi him money? Mi and him a family? Weh mi a go tek taxi and go over there go spend money mongst him, afta mi and him no like that. That question don't mek sense,” Witness One said.

Mitchell told him that based on the fact that he said he was bothered by all the robberies he could have taken a taxi and gone to return the money.

“You gwaan go tek taxi,” the witness said.

The attorney answered: “I don't drive in taxi; I drive in limo,” evoking more laughter.

Besides the numerous questions about whether or not the witness was bothered by his conscience, Mitchell also asked him repeatedly to give the dates of the different incidents and also the dates when he had visited the police, but at all times the witness said he could not remember.

He was also unable to state the number of robberies he had committed and what year he started robbing with the gang. However, he told the court that he started stealing from his days in primary school and that at times he would also shoplift. But again, he could not give the age at which he started.

“You realise that with all the robberies you have been speaking about, you have not been able to tell the court any year, day, or month,” Mitchell said to him.

“I realise that, sir,” Witness One conceded.

But when asked to explain why he could not provide any dates he said: “Because when I was going on the robberies I never bring a pen and book.”

Mitchell then asked: “Because you are a self-confessed robber and thief, why should we believe you? You are making it up, that is why you can't provide the date.”

But the witness insisted that he was being honest as he would not be able to make up so many things and know of the different things that happened during each robbery, if he was lying.

Repeated suggestions were also made to the witness that he was not being truthful about the incidents involving Scott and about him being armed or present during some of the robberies.

However, the witness maintained that he had no need to lie as he had been there.

“Were you there?” he boldly asked Mitchell on one occasion.

“No. I was not. My conscience would not carry me there,” the attorney answered.

Witness One was also questioned at length about inconsistencies relating to evidence that he had given to the court which were not in his statement. He maintained that at the time of giving the statement, he did not remember all the details, given the number of robberies in which he had participated.

“I have a brain. Sometimes I forget things, sometimes I remember,” he pointed out.

Witness One will continue to undergo further cross-examination from Mitchell when the trial resumes today before Chief Justice Bryan Sykes.

Wilson and 23 of his alleged cronies, among them police corporal Lloyd Knight, are being tried for various offences under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act, commonly referred to as the Anti-Gang Legislation, and also for offences under the Firearms Act.

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