Judge refuses to admit transcript of recordings of alleged gangsters | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News

The prosecution’s case against alleged members of the One Don faction of the Clansman gang suffered an apparent setback Tuesday as Chief Justice Bryan Sykes blocked three transcripts of secret recordings of the purported gangsters entering into evidence.

The recordings were of conversations the second prosecution witness allegedly had with several alleged members of the Spanish Town, St Catherine-based gang.

Trial judge Chief Justice Bryan Sykes indicated that he was preventing the admission of the transcripts at this time due to “insufficient” evidence to indicate the chain of custody of the phone recordings that were transcribed, among other reasons.

Previously, the second witness, a former second in command of the gang, testified in the Home Circuit Court trial that he handed over three cellphones to an undercover policeman with recorded conversations of himself and other gangsters, including the alleged leader Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan.

A third prosecution witness — a female policewoman who transcribed the audio recordings for nearly two years — said testified Tuesday that the former gangster had listened to the recordings, identified the voices and checked the transcripts for errors.

Following further testimony on how the transcripts were prepared, the prosecution moved to have the documents — including one with 175 pages — admitted into evidence.

However, several defence attorneys objected to this move.

Lloyd McFarlane, who represents Bryan, argued that there was not sufficient evidence to say who the voices on the recording belonged to.

Additionally, the attorney argued that this would be necessary for the documents to be entered into evidence.

Another defence attorney, Kymani Brydson, also challenged the tendering of the documents, arguing that there was no evidence to indicate that the CD with the phone recordings were safely kept and not tampered with.

Brydson is representing accused men Daniel McKenzie, Owen Ormsby and Tomrick Taylor.

On behalf of his clients, the attorney also pointed out that the prosecution presented no evidence to show that the recordings were made by the second witness.

AttorneyWalter Melbourne, who is representing defendant Damaine Elliston, argued that there was an issue in relation to the chain of custody of the recordings.

Following the submissions by the attorneys, Sykes agreed that there was insufficient evidence on the chain of custody of the audio recordings.

Earlier in the day’s proceedings, the policewoman testified that she and the second witness began having meetings to transcribe the audio material in September 2019.

However, she said she only completed the transcription process this year.

She explained to the court that the second prosecution witness was first introduced to her in late 2019 by the undercover policeman working with him.

The policewoman claimed that a CD with the phone recordings was handed to her by the policeman.

She pointed out that the second witness would, throughout the clips, indicate to her who was speaking.

“A Mumma dat,” the officer said the second witness would say to her, for example.

‘Mumma’ is the alias of defendant Stephanie Christie, from St Thomas.

The policewoman is expected to continue giving evidence on Wednesday.

Christie, Bryan, along with 31 other men, are being tried in the Home Circuit Court under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations Act), 2014, better known as the anti-gang legislation, on an indictment with 25 counts.

The men and the woman have been charged with multiple offences, including being part of a criminal organisation, illegal possession of firearm, illegal possession of ammunition, facilitating conspiracy to murder, and facilitating arson.

The offences were allegedly committed between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2019, in St Catherine.