Bailey confident of nailing alleged King Valley gangsters
After what was pitched as pivotal proceedings against the King Valley Gang foundered last year because of insufficient evidence, the police believe they now have an airtight case against the Westmoreland-based network.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey said that investigators “have secured adequate evidence to mount a formidable trial” against five persons who were charged in the wake of an operation last week.
Last July, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes ruled that the prosecutors did not provide enough evidence to bolster their case for which the then accused gangsters were charged for breaching the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act.
Bailey said that the police have learned from that first experience and now have a much better understanding of the legislation.
“Only a fool would not have learned from the experience of the past,” Bailey told The Gleaner. “Life is about learning, policing is about learning. ... We looked at some of the pitfalls, some of the weaknesses, and also some of the strengths.”
Last week, during an operation in Grange Hill, which is said to be the stronghold of the King Valley Gang, the police arrested seven persons.
Five of them have since been charged under the anti-gang legislation. They are Kevin Wilson, 38; Orville Jones, 37; Joel Ranking, 32; Shamari Lindo, 23; and 19-year-old Keneisha Shanice Moody.
Moody, who is said to be the girlfriend of reputed gang leader Derval ‘Lukie’ Williams – currently incarcerated on a murder charge – was reportedly held with a quantity of ammunition.
The gang, which has reportedly been unleashing terror, including numerous murders, in Grange Hill and surrounding communities, is said to be heavily involved in contract killings, rapes, bike robberies, and the sale of illegal firearms and ammunition.
Despite his confidence that the alleged gangsters will be convicted this time, Bailey says he is not seeking to pre-empt the verdict.
“The stream of justice consists of several players, several different layers. You have the police, the prosecution, the defence, and the judiciary.
“The interpretation of the law is ultimately determined by the judge and different judges will determine the law and the evidence differently,” said Bailey.