Sun | Jan 23, 2022

Flow, Digicel stall cops’ request for call records, says witness

Published:Tuesday | November 30, 2021 | 12:10 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

The chief investigator in the One Don Gang investigation disclosed on Monday that the police have faced difficulties obtaining call records from telecoms providers Flow and Digicel for the phones used by alleged members of the criminal organisation.

The investigator, while being questioned a second time by Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, said that information dating back as far as 2019 had been requested.

The detective sergeant indicated that the police’s Communication Forensic and Cybercrimes Unit had made the request but continued to encounter challenges.

“You spoke to your superiors and that didn’t help?” Chief Justice Sykes enquired.

“It helped to a certain point,” the cop replied.

The policeman then started to explain but changed his mind, saying, “I’ll say no more. We are still awaiting the call data records.”

The issue came to the fore during Monday’s morning session of the trial when the witness spoke about a police operation targeting illegal guns that were reportedly being transported by One Don members based on information received from the prosecution’s second witness, a former top-tier member of the gang.

During that operation, two alleged members of the gang were killed by the police during a reported shoot-out.

According to the investigator, the ex-gangster had left his phone line open so that the police could listen in on his conversation with alleged One Don cronies on their whereabouts.

Puzzled by the disclosure that the police requests had not been honoured, he said that the law should be revisited if Digicel and Flow had, in fact, refused to cooperate with investigators.

Later, during the afternoon session, Justice Sykes again raised the issue after questioning the police witness about four phones he testified he had seized from defendants Stephanie Christie and her alleged lover, Fabian Johnson.

The judge, after querying whether those phones were submitted for analysis and whether the call data records were obtained, was told that the police never received the requested information.

The witness said that the same problem applied to the three phones used by the ex-gangster to secretly record his conversation with alleged members of the gang, including the reputed leader, Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan, and Christie.

The witness also detailed how some of the defendants were caught.

The investigator said that Christie, a St Thomas pastor, who had been sitting in a Toyota Hiace bus, had begged him to delay her arrest as her husband was to be ordained at a convention that day. The cop refused her request.

The investigator further told the court that he recognised Christie’s voice from recordings of gang conversations.

The sergeant said he also recognised one of the telephone numbers that she had given him as the same one Johnson had asked him to call when he was earlier arrested.

The officer recalled Johnson pleading for him to contact his “big woman Steph”.

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 One Don Gang is a breakaway faction of the Clansman Gang.

The chief investigator will continue his testimony when the trial resumes this morning.