Wed | Jul 8, 2020

Defence calls King Valley Gang witness a liar

Published:Tuesday | January 21, 2020 | 7:48 AMDanae Hyman/Gleaner Writer

Defence attorney Russell Stewart yesterday questioned the Crown witness’ motives for testifying against the accused King Valley Gang members, suggesting that his only reason for coming forward was because he was offered immunity by the prosecution.

The witness, a self-proclaimed ex-member of the Westmoreland-based gang, told the court last week that he decided to testify because his family members were slain in an attempt to get him out of hiding where they could kill him.

However Stewart, who is representing Lindell Powell, one of the accused gang members, said that witness’ sole reason for testifying is because he entered into a plea deal with the prosecution.

During cross-examination yesterday, Russell asked the witness if he had advised the police of his criminal past, including that he was a rapist and a thief, when he had turned himself in.

“Were you not presented with an opportunity to give evidence, to be an informant in exchange for immunity?” Russell asked.

“I am suggesting that what has caused you to give evidence against Mr Powell and others is a direct result of you being an informant against these individuals.”

“I disagree,” the witness responded.

But the attorney shot back: “You would agree that based on the crimes you committed, you would have been facing several years in prison if convicted?”

The witness agreed.

Trying to save himself

Russell then asserted that the witness’ main motive was to save himself from going to prison, charging that he had fabricated information about Powell and his co-accused.

Continuing with the cross-examination, Russell asked the witness if he agreed that his position as star witness was far better than the fate his accused former gang members faced.

When the witness responded, “No”, the attorney then asked if he would like to switch places with the accused. Again, he said no.

The attorney also insisted that the witness had to “give good evidence” against Powell and others as a condition of his immunity arrangement.

“In your attempt for this court to believe you, you are compromising the truth against Mr Powell. In other words, to give a good impression to this court, you are lying,” Russell said.

Also calling into question the witness character was Abina Morris, the attorney representing accused gang member Carlington Godfrey, who suggested that the witness only turned himself in to the police to avoid being killed by his fellow gang members.

According to the witness, his aunt, sister, father among other family members were gunned down by the gang to get to him.

However, during cross-examination, Morris asserted that the witness did not turn himself in because his family was killed, but rather to save his life by telling lies on the accused gangsters.

Cross-examination continues today.

danae.hyman@gleanerjm.com