Wed | Nov 29, 2023


Ex-gangster believes Bryan, cronies’ sentences too light, not worth risk of testifying

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2023 | 12:11 AMTanesha Mundle/Gleaner Writer

A FORMER One Don Gang member who had given key evidence in the trial has expressed deep disappointment at the sentences that were meted out to the gang leader, Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan, and some of his cronies.

The witness, who was a former community don and had functioned in the gang as a driver, said he now feels as if he had risked his life and his family for nothing by testifying against the gang.

Blackman, the ruthless gang leader who the court heard had meticulous planning and organisational skills in the orchestrated vicious attacks which included murder, arson and shooting, was on Monday slapped with a sentence of 39 and a half years.

The overall sentence was for leadership of a criminal organisation and seven counts of facilitating the commission of serious offences by a criminal organisation, which included at least five murders ordered by Blackman.

But the witness, whose life has been in turmoil since he volunteered to provide information against the gang said, “The type of person that I know him to be, he should be looking at 50 or more years.

“I honestly think it should have more, knowing the damage he caused to many people’s lives,” he added.

The maximum sentence for leadership under the anti-gang legislation is 30 years, while the maximum for membership and facilitating the commission of serious offences by a criminal organisation is 20 years.

Five other convicted gangsters were also sentenced on Monday to prison terms ranging from 18 months to 18 years and six months.

But the witness was equally displeased.

“I am very disappointed; I think the least sentence should have been at least 15 years after all the deductions that were given.

“How can you hear the type of crime these men commit and give dem a slap on the wrist? Honestly, if this is the way forward in the fight against crime, there’s no hope for Jamaica and Jamaicans,” he added.

Looking at the sentences that have so far been handed down, the witness said he feels as if they went in the convicts’ favour.

“In all this, they are the ones who win because the outcome of this mek mi feel like I put me and my family life on hold for nothing.

“So I would say I risked it all for nothing,” he added. “After all I have been through and [I am] still going through, it’s not worth it.”

He, however, grudgingly expressed satisfaction at Blackman’s admission that he was the leader of the gang and that he had given the orders for the vicious and deadly attacks.

“They say when a man fall, don’t celebrate, but why wait till they all fall to tell the court we weren’t lying?” he shared.

As for those who are still maintaining their innocence, the witness said, “I know deep in my heart they are not innocent.”

The witness was one of two ex-gang members who testified for the prosecution in the trial and gave chilling and shocking details about the gang’s operation.

Both witnesses, including Blackman’s personal driver and the gang’s banker, said they chose to testify to put an end to the bloodletting caused by the gang and to save lives.

The former community don went to the police with the information after he had got cold feet and had abandoned a previous attempt, while the other witness decided to testify against the gang after he was arrested and charged.