Mon | Feb 24, 2020

King Valley Trial | Childhood grudge drove witness to accuse ‘Tupac’, says lawyer

Published:Thursday | January 23, 2020 | 12:23 AMDanae Hyman

Defence attorney Everton Bird yesterday suggested to the witness that he has been holding a childhood grudge against his client, Copeland ‘Tupac’ Sankey, which drove him to maliciously name the accused as an alleged member of the King Valley Gang.

The witness, a self-confessed former member of the Westmoreland-based gang, gave statements to the police naming 32 people whom he claims were members of the gang carrying out numerous crimes in the western Jamaica parish.

Some of the people listed are dead.

Eight alleged members of the King Valley Gang are now before the court.

Carlington ‘Tommy’ Godfrey, Lindell ‘Lazarus’ Powell, Rannaldo ‘Ratty’ McKennis, Derval ‘Lukie’ Williams, Hopeton ‘Bigga’ Sankey, Christon ‘Ecoy’ Grant, Copeland ‘Tupac’ Sankey, and Sean ‘Elder’ Suckra are accused of conspiring to commit murder, rape, and robbery with aggravation from as early as 2013.

During cross-examination, Bird made suggestions to the witness that his “tissue of lies” was fuelled by the dislike for his client.

“Why would I dislike him when me used to always over him yard? I do not dislike him,” the witness said, testifying from a remote location by video feed.

According to the attorney, this dislike grew further when his father’s house was burnt down and more so when ‘Tupac’ confronted him one morning, advising him to discontinue participating in criminal activities.

“That is a lie … . I was living with my grandmother when my father’s house burn down. I don’t know who burn down my father’s house or shoot it up, so how me fi hate man for it?” the witness questioned.

He added that ‘Tupac’ had never given such advice to him.

When the cross-examination ended, a senior prosecutor on the case who requested to not be named, re-examined the witness about his response to Donald Bryan, the attorney representing ‘Ratty’.

During cross-examination on Monday, Bryan suggested to the witness that he was lying when he testified that ‘Ratty’ had told him about killing a man because he did not make that declaration in his initial statements to the police.

When the witness remained adamant that he had done so, Bryan allowed him to reread his 36-page statement, which took approximately an hour and a half to complete.

The witness then agreed with the defence lawyer that he had not made the admission in that police statement.

However, the senior prosecutor laid evidence showing that the witness gave seven statements in total to the police - two on the same day as the 36-page statement.

Ratty’s admission to killing the man was contained in the second statement.

“So at the time, you knew that the witness did, in fact, say so, but you only put him to it in one statement?” Chief Justice Bryan Sykes asked the defence attorney.

“At the time I asked, I was not aware,” he responded.

The judge then prompted Bryan to withdraw his suggestion.

The trial continues today with a new Crown witnesses.

danae.hyman@gleanerjm.com