Biting testimony from policeman
A police constable, who is now in the government’s witness protection programme, testified yesterday that he witnessed two colleagues collect a gun from a man at an east Kingston office and later saw Senior Superintendent Reneto Adams plant the weapon at the Crawle murder scene.
Constable Tyrone Brown, who is in hiding abroad, did not name the person who delivered the gun to Sergeant Ballen and Corporal Tingling, but told the court the collection was at premises at Homestead Road, where construction equipment were parked.
He described the man who delivered the weapon as short, black and stout with low-cropped hair. He wore jewellery on his hand.
Brown, who is also called “Dutty Dog”, was asked by prosecutors if he knew Danhai Williams, the controversial East Kingston figure who is in the construction business. He said yes.
However, Crown counsel Terrence Williams, who questioned Brown during his evidence in chief, did not make a connection between Williams and the firearm.
Although he conceded that he did not make the claim about the collection and planting of the gun in initial statements to the police, Brown yesterday insisted that he was telling the truth and rejected suggestion that he copped a deal to escape investigation into a US visa racket.
Adams, who led the highly controversial, but now disbanded Crime Management Unit, and five members of the squad are on trial for the murder of four persons – including two women – over the May 2003 killing at a house at Crawle, a small village in the south central Jamaican parish of Clarendon. Police claimed the four were killed in a gunfight with cops.
Ballen, who once served in the CMU, told the court that on the day of the incident he and a Corporal Ramsay were on patrol in an unmarked police car in the Cromarty area of Spanish Town. Sergeant Ballen and Corporal Tingling, he said, were in another unmarked car.
According to Brown, at about mid-evening he heard Adams transmitting on the police radio that he and his men were under gunfire in Clarendon.
Brown said he was spoken to by Ramsay – he did not disclose what was said – who turned his car to follow the one with Ballen and Tingling. They drove to Windward Road, in East Kingston and stopped at an office at Homestead Road.
Brown said that he had been to the premises before, having previously gone there with a cop from the police Motorised Patrol Division.
It was at this point that Brown, who said he stayed in the car, outside the premises, said he knew Williams and the gateman, a rastafarian called Sogie.
Explaining the event at the East Kingston premises, Brown said: “I saw Ballen speak with a rastaman, then Cpl Tingling and Ballen followed the rastaman inside the yard. The rastaman pulled a glass door and went inside the office. I saw a stout black man, short, low hair step outside. He had jewellery on his hand (and) began to talk to Sgt Ballen and Cpl Tingling then went back inside.
“After a brief while he returned outside. I saw him with what appeared to be an object resembling a firearm in his hand. He spoke briefly to Ballen and Tingling. He handed the object to Tingling and he put it in a yellow paper bag.”
According to Brown, he was between 15 to 20 feet away from the scene of the transaction.
It was near 6:00 pm by the time Tingling and Ballen were through and returned to car, to make the return trip to Crawle, Clarendon.
Ballen drove ahead. They put on their sirens.
Brown testified that both cars stopped outside the Clarendon capital of May Pen. The car Ballen was driving pulled behind the one with Brown and Ramsay.
After they stopped, Ramsay told the court, he heard an explosion. When he looked behind he saw Tingling with the gun that had been taken from the man at Windward Road. He fired twice towards the bushes.
“Tingling bent down on the road and picked something and we drove off again,” Brown said.
A few minutes into the resumed journey, Brown said, Ballen pulled ahead.
On the way to Crawle, Brown said, he spoke via mobile phone to Constables Collier and Gordon and Corporal Lyons, but the nature of the conversation was not disclosed.
At Crawle, Brown said Tingling, Ballen and himself went into the yard where the incident had occurred, where he met two plainclothes policemen who took them to Adams at the step of the house. They accompanied Adams into a room. Brown said he saw the bleeding body of a female on the floor beside a bed. At her feet was a rifle with sniper lens. There were also live M16 rounds and empty casing.
He said Tingling gave the yellow bag with the gun to Adams who walked past the woman’s body. As he passed the rifle, Brown said, Adams declared: “See the gun deh whey de dutty boy dem a fire.”
In another room, Brown said he saw the bleeding body of a man on the floor.
Said Brown: “I saw SSP Adams bend down took the firearm from the yellow bag, (and) placed it on the floor and took the (spent) shells and throw them on the floor beside the body. I was inside the house when SSP Adams did that.”
He said Ballen, Tingling and Lyons, as well as police scenes-of-crime investigators, were present when Adams planted the gun.
Under cross-examination by defence attorney Churchill Neita, QC, Brown admitted that in his first statement on June 29, 2003, he said he saw Adams with a 9mm pistol and another gun. In that statement, he reported that Adams showed the weapons to other policemen, saying that they had been recovered at the scene.
He had not given a full information then, Brown said.
“I am now saying that is not the truth,” he said.
Brown also admitted saying in his statement that Tingling put the gun in a brown paper bag, but testified yesterday that the bag was yellow. “When I say yellow I mean brown,” he told Neita.
He admitted to attorney Valerie Neita-Robertson that his alias name was “Dutty Dog.”
“I suggest you are not a witness of truth Mr Dutty Dog Brown,” Neita Robertson said.
Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe, who is hearing the case, cautioned the lawyer for her remark and warned that if she persisted he would sanction her.
“It is embarrassing the witness. This type of conduct brings the bar into disrepute.If you do it again I am going to take sanctions against you.”
Neita-Robertson: “I am entitled to do it,”
Wolfe: “You are not entitled to do it. That type of conduct brings the bar in disrepute.”