A defence attorney on Monday accused a retired police inspector of being an embarrassment, claiming that the former senior cop fabricated evidence against Stephanie ‘Mumma’ Christie, a St Thomas pastor and one of the main alleged operatives of the One Don faction of the Clansman gang.
Attorney Alexander Shaw was making his closing arguments at the keenly watched gang trial which resumed after several weeks following the Home Circuit Court’s summer break.
But with the closing arguments of the defence now completed, the trial in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston was adjourned until November 1.
On that date, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes is expected to begin his summation of the case which began on September 20 of last year.
Sykes informed that he had other engagements throughout the rest of the month and October, so the summation could not be accommodated at an earlier date.
A total of 27 defendants now remain on trial, as the only accused who was on bail, Andre ‘Bolo’ Smith, was shot and killed on Hagley Park Road in St Andrew on Wednesday, August 10.
While several of the accused, including the alleged gang leader, Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan, have been freed of some counts on the indictment, Sykes ruled earlier this year that there are several other offences for which they have to answer.
Shaw, who also represented Smith, told the court that no documentation was presented to him to prove that his client was murdered.
He said by way of conversation with Smith’s relatives, he was told that a post-mortem examination will be conducted on his body shortly.
Like the defence, the prosecution advised the court that it had no documents on file to prove Smith’s death, as was reported.
At that juncture, Sykes asked the investigating officer about the proof relative to the accused man’s death.
The officer said by Wednesday of this week he should obtain the necessary evidentiary material from the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigations Branch (C-TOC).
Additionally, he advised that a scene of crime witness should testify relative to the crime scene of Smith’s murder.
The accused was reportedly driving home after making a delivery of chickens, when he was shot dead by gunmen.
Meanwhile, Shaw, who represents Christie, continued his closing arguments on behalf of the accused female clergywoman.
He described the evidence that was presented in court by the retired policeman as being unreliable.
The retired policeman, who described himself as a “gang expert”, had testified in March of this year that Christie had allegedly attempted to bribe him with $100,000 for the release of reputed leader of the gang, Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan.
During his cross-examination of the ex-lawman in March, Shaw also accused him of fabricating evidence.
“Aren’t you tired of sitting up there and misleading the court?” Shaw asked the man who said he was a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force for over 30 years.
Shaw’s question at the time came in the wake of an admission by the ex-cop that he could not remember the exact date on which Christie allegedly offered him $100,000 in exchange for the release of Bryan from custody.
The cop had testified that he had also demanded that Christie give him two new rifles, to which he said the St Thomas clergywoman promised that she would give him the rifles once Bryan was released.
But the retired lawman rejected Shaw’s claims at the time that he was fabricating evidence, and explained that he could not remember the exact date.
Shaw reminded the lawman at the time that he had testified that Christie made the alleged bribe in September 2017.
However, the attorney indicated then that in the former police officer’s statement to his colleagues, he (the officer) said that incident occurred in January of that year.
“It was in March,” replied the retired cop earlier this year on the witness stand.
“Oh, so you’re adding another date?” asked Shaw.
The officer, however, maintained that he was not lying to the court.
On Monday, Shaw maintained that the officer’s evidence against Christie could not be relied upon.
In fact, Shaw called the retired policeman an embarrassment to the investigation, accusing him of fabricating evidence.
Shaw also sought to discredit the evidence of the prosecution’s key witnesses, who were said to be two former gang members.
The lawyer said neither of the two former gangsters-turned-state-witnesses spoke to Christie committing any crime.
However, Sykes intervened by reminding that the prosecution was not relying on evidence that Christie committed crimes.
Sykes recalled evidence presented that Christie was said to be the person who solicited information from lawmen.
Additionally, the senior jurist reminded of the testimony of one of the witnesses that Christie assigned lawyers to alleged gangsters who were in custody.
Sykes also reminded the attorney of the secret cell phone recordings made by a former gangster-turned-state-witness. In the recordings, Christie’s tendency to speak a lot was highlighted, the judge said.
The 27 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.
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.