Clansman Gang Trial | St Thomas pastor gets over 9 years for gang membership
St Thomas pastor Stephanie Cole Christie was this morning sentenced to nine years and 10 months in prison for being a member of the One Don Gang.
Chief Justice Bryan Sykes said it was clear from the evidence that the 48-year-old businesswoman, otherwise called 'Muma', was a critical member of the gang and had social skills that were vital to the criminal organisation.
The judge said Cole Christie was adept at engaging persons from different social classes and seemed to have translated those skills to the gang.
"She was a willing participant and was willing to lend her skills to the gang to further its criminal purpose," Sykes said.
Two former gang members had testified that she was gang's liaison officer who would communicate with the police, provide inside information, and secure lawyers and bail bonds for gang members who were arrested, among other functions.
The estranged married woman was also heard having extended conversations about the gang's operation and the behaviours of some of her cronies with one of the ex-gang members who had secretly recorded conversations with some of the gangsters.
However, the judge highlighted that Cole Christie, during her social enquiry, distanced herself from the gang, claiming she was never a member, never benefited from the gang, or witnessed gang members carrying out any acts of violence.
But, the judge said her claims were contrary to the evidence presented, as based on the recorded conversations she was deeply involved in the gang.
He also highlighted that based on her conversation about loyalty to the gang's leader, she was a strong and loyal supporter of Andre 'Blackman' Bryan.
Cole Christie, however, in her social enquiry report, indicated that since being in custody she has joined the prison's choir and is also working in the kitchen and salon and expressed that she believes that she has been rehabilitated.
The ordained minister, as a result, asked the court for leniency so that she can return to care for her teenage daughter.
According to her, she has always been heavily involved in church ministry, and social and community activities, and as a result, persons are drawn to her.
She claimed that this was how she became involved with the gang's leader as he would come to her for encouragement and advice for his businesses.
Meanwhile, the judge, in calculating Cole Christie's sentence, started at 16 years and then reduced it by two years for mitigating factors.
Four years and two months, which she had already served in custody, was also deducted.
- Tanesha Mundle
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