THE defence in the trial involving alleged members of the Klansman gang is now tracking down five cops needed as witnesses — two of whom have been suspended from the force for at least three years.

The matter, which was expected to end this month, could consume more of the court’s time.

The five were on Monday ordered subpoenaed after two defence attorneys told the court that the cops, who had been the ones to enter the details about their clients into the station diaries of the Spanish Town lockup, could not be located. Two of the cops were on suspension while the other three had been reassigned.

Last month, subpoenas were issued for the custody of diaries and admission books from the lockup and correctional facilities, with the understanding that the individuals who created those records would appear before the court to give the evidence.

The matter was forced to adjourn on Tuesday last week to allow for attorneys, who had yet to even identify who the individuals were, to verify who they were and have them brought before the court.

On Monday, after the court had heard the evidence of two of three correctional officers, attorneys indicated that the records from the lockup were still unaccompanied and requested the subpoenas for the cops by name. The defence contended that prosecutors’ refusal for the records from the correctional facilities to be agreed evidence, without having to call the actual witness, was another difficulty they faced.

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, commenting on the issue, said: “At this rate it is unlikely the trial is going to be finished this term,” given the issues created in gaining access to records which are in the custody of the executive (the police and correctional services).”

The chief justice said the use of judicial time to track down all these individuals was not the best use of time and resources.

The chief justice had only last month said that he was expecting that the trial — which is the longest running matter of its kind, having started in September last year — should be finished at the end of July.

“All things being equal, we should be getting to the end of the evidence by next week, and then we are going to be having a break before the addresses begin so that persons can get their thoughts together and then the summation should begin before the end of the legal year,” the chief justice had said following the last of unsworn statements from alleged members of the gang on June 23.

The trial will continue at 10:00 this morning in the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston.

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS Senior staff reporter

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