Amid dismissed charges, Sykes says accused could still be part of gang Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes has declared that despite the 27 defendants in the One Don faction of the Clansman trial having been freed of some offences on the indictment, that does not absolve them from the possibility of being adjudged as being members of a criminal organisation.

Sykes was speaking during Thursday afternoon’s resumption of the summation of evidence in the gang trial that is being held in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.

Some key defendants, including alleged gang leader, Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan, suspected top-tier member and St Thomas pastor, Stephanie ‘Mumma’ Christie; murder convict Jason ‘City Puss’ Brown; and ex-soldier Jermaine Robinson, are among the defendants who remain on trial.

There was no morning session on the day for the continuation of the summation.

When the matter resumed, Sykes pointed out that it takes three or more persons coming together to form a criminal organisation.

He suggested that this can be done with some degree of structure and having the intention to commit a serious crime.

He said even if a serious crime is not committed, the conclusion can still be drawn that a criminal gang exists.

Though recognising that the prosecution has conceded some of the counts on the indictment against the accused persons, due in part to lack of sufficient evidence, the judge said if there is value in the other evidence presented, then it can determine the ingredients of a criminal organisation.

On Wednesday, the chief jurist said evidence from counts that were previously dismissed from the indictment under which alleged members of the One Don faction of the Clansman gang are being tried, could be considered to arrive at a verdict on the existence of the criminal organisation.

Of the 25 counts that were initially on the indictment, seven failed, and the crown conceded on four counts.

Additionally, Sykes indicated that he could consider evidence that was given by former gang members in outlining crimes for which the defendants are not charged under the indictment.

The accused are being tried under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations Act), 2014, better known as the anti-gang legislation, on an indictment containing several counts, including murder and arson.

The offences were allegedly committed between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2019, mainly in St Catherine, with at least one murder being committed in St Andrew.