THE lead police investigator in the case against 33 individuals accused of crimes committed by the St Catherine-based Klansman gang yesterday gave a glimpse into the events following the 2018 predawn police operation when alleged leader of the outfit, Andre “Blackman” Bryan, was busted at his posh apartment on Shortwood Road in St Andrew.
According to the investigator, who took the stand a week ago in the trial in the Home Circuit Division of the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston, he formally charged Bryan in 2019 in his cell at the Kingston Central lock-up where he had been held, but had first seen him during the predawn operation the year before. According to the investigator, who said he was not the one leading the operation, his first words to Bryan at that time was about his lithe-bodied “structure”, which belied the heavyweight position of being “a don”.
The sleuth said the police team, after breaching the complex, had taken four people, including Bryan, his mother Millicent, his brother Kevaughn Green, and his female companion, into custody. He said during the search of the apartment and other activities he did not speak to Bryan until he was taken outside.
According to the investigator, when the team was about to leave, he spoke to Bryan “casually”.
Speaking about the conversation held with Bryan in the yard of the apartment, the detective chuckling slightly said, “It was just a casual conversation, looking at his structure at the time, I was saying, 'A yuh a di don really fi Jones Avenue?' ”
Bryan's attorney Lloyd McFarlane, however, objected to the line of questioning, resulting in trial judge Chief Justice Bryan Sykes questioning the relevance of those utterances to the case.
“I didn't caution Mr Bryan, we were having a casual conversation, he wasn't under any investigation [at that time],” the investigator explained. The line of questioning was, however, abandoned by the prosecutor eliciting the evidence.
The investigator, in the meantime, said he charged Bryan in his cell at the Central Kingston lock-up, where he had been held.
The detective then formally identified the wiry-bodied Bryan from amongst the accused in the docks. The alleged gang leader, who cut a boyish figure standing with the others, flashed a brief smile, turning his head sideways when he was singled out before replacing his mask and resuming his seat.
In the meantime, the detective, in recalling his further encounter with Bryan at the Central Kingston lock-up, where he charged him, said before he could say anything to the accused gangster he testily enquired if it was him again, leading him to ask Bryan if he knew him.
“He said, 'Yes', so I said, 'From where?' and he said, 'The green shirt', and I said, 'What about the green shirt?' and he said, 'When yuh come a di apartment yuh was wearing a green shirt, now yuh come back to mi wearing a green shirt,' ” the detective said.
He said “after that episode” he told Bryan that he was there because he was a suspect in a gang investigation and informed him that he was being charged for leadership of a criminal organisation and for being part of a criminal organisation.
He said Bryan, when cautioned, “did not say anything”.
He then formally identified for the court Bryan's brother Kevaughn Green, who was seated next to him in the docks sporting a blue and white striped shirt. Green's slight smile was in contrast to his brother's wide grin when identified by the detective.
Yesterday, the detective identified another nine accused. He, however, was mistaken in the identification of the accused Andre Smith, who would have been the tenth person identified. The lawman on Tuesday spent several painstaking hours relaying the circumstances under which he met and charged 13 of the accused for being members of a criminal organisation and positively identified them. On Monday he identified the accused Fabian Johnson, Kemar Harrison, Rushane Williams and Stephanie Christie in the docks.
And the prosecution yesterday morning indicated that the impasse over it obtaining call data records from the island's two major service providers might soon end.