Soldier accused of being gangster has family ties in JDF, court hearsWednesday, December 01, 2021
The lead police investigator in the case against the 33 individuals accused of crimes committed by the St Catherine-based Klansman gang yesterday positively identified another 13 against whom he had laid charges and further revealed that the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) member Jermaine Robinson, who is among the accused, has family ties within the revered organisation.
The investigator, a member of the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigations (C-TOC) Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and who has been on the witness stand since last Wednesday, said he first met Robinson when he was being held at Grant's Pen Police Station in early July 2019. He said he had visited that lock-up based on “certain information” and had spoken with Robinson for “upwards of 20 minutes”.
The sleuth, who said he was in the company of another detective, testified that, at the time he had told Robinson that he was a suspect in the ongoing gang investigations. He said the JDF operative, after being cautioned, “made no comment”.
According to the detective, he then had a conversation with Robinson “as it relates to his job”.
“I asked him if he was a member of the JDF and he said, 'Yes'. One of the questions I asked him at that point, I learnt that his father was also a member of the JDF,” the witness told the court.
He said he then asked Robinson about his legal representation, at which point the soldier asked the detective “for a call”.
“He spoke to, I think, his wife and after that I left,” the investigator said.
According to the detective, he then met the army man a second time, on July 24, at the Kingston Central lock-up in the Corporate Area, where several other alleged gang members were being held. He said on that occasion Robinson, when cautioned and charged, “made no comment”.
In early November, Witness Number One, an ex-gang member-turned-prosecution witness, had alleged that Robinson was agitated that the gang was losing ground after its alleged leader, Andre “Blackman” Bryan, was locked up in 2018 and the gang began splintering.
He said the army man, who was another member of Bryan's security detail, had been introduced to him in 2017 by Bryan who said, “A soldier dis ennuh.” The witness said he saw Robinson on several other occasions involving the gang and detailed one instance where he said Robinson, who had injured one hand which was placed in a cast, handled an AK47 with the other hand. He claimed that Robinson was often where Bryan was. According to the witness, the last time he saw the army man was at a checkpoint in Spanish Town.
“He told them not to search mi and just let mi through,” Witness Number One had testified, adding that Robinson, who was clad in the JDF garb, said, 'Let him through, mi know him.'
He told the court that Robinson then pulled him aside and asked him if he hadn't heard from “the general” and asked for his [the witness's] phone number.
He further told the court that on the day of his visit to the Criminal Investigations Branch, where he gave the police information about the gang, Robinson called him while he was in the presence of the investigators. He said the army man “was asking about Blackman, if I don't hear from him because he want to talk to him because he want to tun up back di ting”.
According to the witness, Robinson said, “Di ting come in like a joke ting.” This, he said, meant that he “wanted more people to be dead and more killings in the Spanish Town Area”.
In other testimony, Witness Number Two, who was the first gang member-turned-Crown-witness to take the stand after the trial began on September 20, had also said Robinson stood guard at his house at nights while Bryan was there. He said during those times, Robinson had a gun in his possession. According to the witness, Robinson had told him that he was a soldier. He, however, admitted that he had never seen Robinson in uniform.
Roxine Smith, the attorney representing Robinson, in cross-examining Witness Number Two, had stated that Robinson hardly had any time to commit crimes, having been stationed in Flanker in Montego Bay, St James, after graduating as a member of the JDF in 2016. She said her client was transferred to Kingston in 2017 and placed in a special course at Up Park Camp, where he was confined.
However, the witness countered that, although Robinson hardly had time due to work, he still played a role in the gang.
Yesterday, the C-TOC investigator spent several painstaking hours relaying the circumstances under which he met and charged 13 of the accused for being members of a criminal organisation. He positively identified for the court Robinson, along with other accused Brian Morris, Donavan Richards, Carl Beech, Tomrick Taylor, Kalifa Williams, Daniel McKenzie, Rivaldo Hylton, Tareek James, Ted Prince, Pete Miller and his brother Marco Miller, and Dillon McLean.
He said all the accused were mum when cautioned and charged, except for Hylton, who remarked, “A so di badniss go.”
On Monday, the detective identified accused Fabian Johnson, Kemar Harrison, Rushane Williams, and Stephanie Christie in the dock.