Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Clansman Gang Trial | ‘This is not a documentary’

Judge cautions against ‘long-winded’ testimony as witness speaks for sixth day

Published:Thursday | September 30, 2021 | 12:12 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes yesterday expressed concerns about the volume of information that is being given in trial by the first witness, instructing the prosecution to be more “pointed” and “focused” in leading the evidence, given that there are 33 accused in the matter.

The self-confessed member of the One Don Gang is the prosecution’s star witness in the Clansman-One Don Gang trial under way in the Home Circuit Court, where 33 accused are facing charges, and was on day six of his testimony.

“He has mentioned 11 or so persons. If he is going to be telling us about all 33, I don’t know,” the judge remarked.

Furthermore, he said, “There will come a time when we will have to sort out what information we will be using.

“All sorts of things happen. This is not a documentary on the life and escapades of these individuals,” he added, while noting that there is a potential for the trial to be long-winded if the witness is to provide every detail of his experience with the alleged gang.

Yesterday, the witness shed more light on the bloody feud that had reportedly ensued between his One Don faction and the Clansman Gang in their fight for control of the multimillion-dollar extortion racket in Spanish Town, St Catherine.

He also told the court that the sole female defendant, Stephanie Christie, had played a key role in the months of shootings in the Dallas Lane area, where the One Don Gang was trying to overthrow rival Clansman.

The aim of the shootings, the court heard, was to get rid of the men who were reportedly there collecting extortion money from bus drivers and taxi operators and to take over the illicit operation.

“They collect money for Tesha Miller, and Blackman wanted to get rid of them,” the witness testified via video link, while explaining that the Dallas Lane area was below the Life of Jamaica Shopping Centre.

The One Don Gang is a breakaway faction of the Clansman Gang, which is reportedly headed by Tesha Miller.

Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan is the reputed leader of the One Don Gang.

“Sometimes me and Stephanie or ‘Richie’ drove by Dallas Lane to go see if there is anybody up there to get gunshot,” the prosecution’s star witness said in his usual matter-of-fact tone.

He, however, explained to the court that he did not know the victims but that they would be known by either Stephanie, Richie, or ‘Mackerel’, with whom he would visit on different dates, separately, to survey the area.

The witness also testified that the gang had used the “duppy truck” in those shootings on Bryan’s instructions.

He previously told the court that the duppy truck was the name given to a stolen Nissan Ad Wagon that the gang had bought for $50,000 and had used primarily to carry out murders and shootings.

“This is not a one-off. This is a daily or weekly event. We keep on hunting down those guys from Dallas Lane,” he told the court.

The witness, who had described himself as the gang’s driver and banker, among other roles, also testified that he was one of the alleged members who would sometimes “run the word” before a shooting.

When asked to explain what he meant, he said: “We were looking to see if any one of those guys were on the front collecting money.”

However, he was unable to say how many “guys” from Dallas the gang had been hunting for.

“Couple guys, can’t give a figure,” he testified, while adding that the search had lasted for months.

“We go there and do a couple of shootings but never gain control,” he answered when asked by Justice Sykes what was the result of the gang’s efforts.

He further told the judge that as far as he knew, the Clansman’s operatives were still there doing “business”.

Earlier, the witness told the court that the gang had set fire to three branches of a loan company in Spanish Town, Old Harbour, and Linstead, St Catherine, after the owner had ignored the thugs’ calls for extortion money.

The witness said that one of the alleged gang members, ‘City Puss’, had suggested that the gang burn down the company to get the owner’s attention as he was not cooperating.

The witness, who admitted to taking part in two of the attacks, however, told the court yesterday about the one that was carried out at the Spanish Town branch in which he had participated its planning at his home with Blackman.

The witness said he had also driven to the area with another member to ensure that there were no cops around.

The witness previously testified that the loan company had allegedly paid the gang $150,000 monthly in extortion fees.

Bryan and 32 other alleged gang members are being tried on an indictment with 25 counts under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) Act and the Firearms Act.

The trial will resume today with more testimony from the first witness.

tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com