New witness takes stand today in King Valley gang trial

New witness takes stand today in King Valley gang trial

Senior staff reporter

Thursday, January 23, 2020

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NEW witnesses are to take the stand today in the continuing trial of eight alleged members of the Westmoreland-based King Valley gang now before the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.

The main witness for the prosecution, who has been testifying by live video link from a remote location since last Tuesday, completed giving his evidence yesterday after three days of grilling from defence attorneys involved in the matter.

The witness, who cannot be identified based on the orders of the court, during his testimony claimed that members of the criminal outfit, including himself, were involved in the deadly lottery scamming scheme, committed rapes and murders in the course of robberies and were also murderers for hire.

The eight, Carlington Godfrey, alias Tommy; Lindell Powell, alias Lazarus; Rannaldo McKennis, otherwise know as Ratty; Derval Williams, also called Lukie; Hopeton Sankey, alias Bigga; Christon Grant, alias Ecoy; Copeland Sankey, also known as Tupac; and Sean Suckra, also called Elder are charged in an indictment containing 11 counts.

Yesterday, following the completion of the cross-examination of the witness, a senior prosecutor with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions who has been leading the evidence in the case, indicated to trial judge Justice Bryan Sykes that new witnesses would face the court today. At the start of the trial the prosecution had indicated that not less than 10 witnesses would be called to testify in the matter.

“Your evidence is finished for now, you may be recalled later in the trial, you need to make yourself available in the event you are recalled,” Justice Sykes advised the witness.

Yesterday, under cross-examination from defence Attorney Everton Bird, who is representing Hopeton Sankey/Bigga and Copeland Sankey/Tupac, the witness rejected suggestions that he carried a childhood grudge against Tupac which fueled his decision to testify against him.

“I'm suggesting that your bad feelings towards Tupac goes back to when you were much younger. Is it a recent thing or does it go back to your childhood? You have always disliked Tupac,” Bird prodded before later injecting that the “malice” deepened after Tupac confronted the witness about robbing a friend of his.

“I don't dislike him, why would I dislike him when I was always over him yard?” the witness countered. He further rejected the attorney's suggestions that his client was not the criminal he painted but rather “a licensed RADA farmer that planted crops on large plots of land”.

“I disagree on that with you, Sir, yuh mean plant ganja? A ganja mi know,” the witness shot back.

“No crops on that land? He planted chickens?... raised chickens,” Bird persisted, sparking laughter from the attorneys and from the witness, who responded that, “Him son raise hog and him help him son wid di hog dem, mi nuh know bout no chicken.”

In the meantime, defence attorney Donald Bryan, who is representing Rannaldo McKennis/Ratty was yesterday forced to withdraw from the records of the court a suggestion he had made while crossing the witness. The witness, during his evidence in chief, had told the court that Ratty had admitted to him to shooting and killing an individual called Quan. Bryan, however, in crossing the witness argued that the witness had not given that information in his statement to the police at the onset and was misleading the court by stating it there. In attempting to prove that point, Byran on Monday, for about an hour, had the witness pore over a 36-page statement in order to prove to the court that no such admission was in that record. The witness had, however, made two statements on the day, which were among a total seven statements he had given to the police. The comment which Bryan had grilled him on was in one of the two statements, but he was only shown one statement by the attorney. The witness, after reading the statement, insisted that he had told the police what Ratty told him, even though he did not see it in the document he was asked to read.

Yesterday prosecutors pointed out the oversight to the court, noting that the statement the witness was shown by Bryan was not the one in which he made the indication that Ratty had told him he had killed Quan which led to an exchange between Chief Justice Bryan Sykes and the attorney who was forced to admit that he had in fact shown the witness the incorrect statement of the two statements made on the same day.

Yesterday, the prosecution, just before the court adjourned, tendered into evidence the “agreed facts” settled between prosecution and defence lawyers in respect to the case.

The trial resumes today at 10.00 am.

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