Wed | Aug 10, 2022

Accused gangster was a prayer boy, says shopkeeper

Published:Wednesday | June 29, 2022 | 12:11 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

A retired St Catherine shopkeeper and neighbour of an alleged Clansman-One Don gangster disclosed Wednesday that the accused once attended prayer meetings at her home, causing her to disbelieve the State’s claims he was involved in organised crime.

The senior citizen told the court that she knew 26-year-old defendant Dylon McLean since he was a baby.

Besides his regular visits to patronise her shop, she said that McLean was like family and that he and his cousins would often visit their prayer meetings on Fridays.

A former top-tier member of the gang had testified that McLean was one of the gang’s lookout men and that he had his own gun. The witness also told the court that McLean would sometimes guard reputed gang leader Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan.

The woman, who was called to give character evidence for McLean, described him as very calm, quiet, unaggressive, and “nice to get along with”.

When McLean’s lawyer Venice Brown asked her to explain why she was in disbelief, she said: “Because I did not see him in that light.”

“He does not have a lot of friends and he is always over his house and I can see him from my shop always sitting under a mango tree inna the yard,” she added.

Furthermore, she said the warehouse supervisor had no reason to get involved in that lifestyle as he was not in need.

“He wasn’t a street child or was suffering so that he would go out there and get something,” the woman told the court.

According to the shopkeeper, she believes that McLean is a law-abiding citizen and has never seen him with a gun or involved in any conflict.

“Whenever you hear him speaking loudly, a him and his siblings at war,” she said.

McLean, in his unsworn testament, had testified that he rarely ventured outside and that a woman who operated a shop in front of his house would always see him when he was home.

The alleged gangster, who also claimed that he was innocent, denied being part of the gang, as well as owning or being familiar with guns.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes adjourned the trial until Monday for four defence lawyers to finalise preparations for the witnesses and documents that they will be presenting.

The lawyers have requested the admission records for their clients at the Spanish Town Police Station and Horizon Adult Remand Centre which they hope to use to prove that the accused were in custody when some of the crimes were allegedly carried out by the gang.

Similar to Monday’s proceedings, some of the records were brought before the court Tuesday, but the relevant officer who could address the information was not present.

But before the adjournment, the judge criticised the defence for their lack of preparation.

“The truth of the matter is that this should have been sorted out from some time ago. You have been in the case for at least a year.

“But it seems as if the strategy was, ‘Let us wait until the end of the prosecution case, make a no-case submission, and hope for the best, and then see afterward’,” the judge said.

McLean is one of 28 remaining defendants in the trial.

The trial commenced last September with 33 persons but five were freed because there were no credible case against them.

The remaining defendants are on a now-reduced 14-count indictment under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) Act and the Firearms Act.

tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com