Wed | Jul 8, 2020

King Valley Trial | Defence attorney said evidence was not labelled or sealed

Published:Friday | January 24, 2020 | 12:00 AMDanae Hyman/Gleaner Writer

Questions were yesterday raised about two items the prosecution wished to admit into evidence which were, according to a defence attorney, not labelled or sealed.

Yesterday, a witness who identified himself as a superintendent in the Westmoreland Police Division, said that during an early morning raid of the home of Sean ‘Elder’ Suckra, an alleged member of the Westmoreland-based King Valley Gang, two masks were found.

According to the witness, he retrieved a ‘Tommy Lee Vendetta’ mask and a Halloween mask.

“I showed two masks to Mr Suckra and said, ‘A dem mask yah yuh use when you a go rob and kill people?’ and he held his head down and said, ‘Nah kill nobody, boss’,” the witness said.

The Crown’s star witness, a self-proclaimed former member of the gang, had previously testified that he and the other gang members often wore masks, army suits, hoodies, as well as gloves whenever they went on “missions” and stored them in bushes, in old cars, or, on occasions, at their homes.

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.

Yesterday, the superintendent said he subsequently turned over the evidence in a black scandal bag to an officer in the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) at the Savanna-la-Mar police station.

He said he was then contacted by the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, went to retrieve the items, and placed them in a locked safe located in his office.

Cross-examining the witness, attorney Alexander Shaw, sitting in for Suckra’s lawyer, Denise Hinson, asked the officer how he knew that the items he presented to the court were the same ones he had retrieved from Suckra’s home.

The witness responded that he checked the items before giving them to the CIB and later after receiving them.

When the prosecutor in charge of the case attempted to get the masks admitted into evidence, the presiding judge, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, took issue.

Sykes reread the star witness’ statements where he had only named Lindell ‘Lazarus’ Powell, ‘Lukie’, and another man only identified as ‘Alkaline’ as gang members who wore masks.

The witness also stated on record that he would give his masks to ‘Alkaline’ for safe keeping at his home.

“As I understand it, Mr Suckra is known as Elder. I thought Elder and Alkaline were separate and distinct persons. By evidence of the police officer, they were at the house of Elder. Elder is not pseudonymous for Alkaline,” Sykes said.

The prosecution then withdrew the items as exhibits and asked that they be marked for identification instead.