Uchence Wilson gang trial resumes today

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Uchence Wilson gang trial resumes today

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Uchence Wilson gang trial is scheduled to resume today in the Home Circuit Court with the continuation of closing arguments by attorney-at-law Kerry-Ann Wilson.

The trial, which has been ongoing since March, was forced to break due to the close of the Easter Term.

Prior to the break, Wilson who is representing accused gang member Machel Goulbourne, during her closing address submitted that the Crown had failed to prove its case against her client.

She further argued that apart from the testimonies of the two Crown witnesses, who are reportedly ex-members of the gang, the Crown had no independent evidence against her client on which to ground the charges against him such as being a part of a criminal organisation, providing a benefit to a criminal organisation, facilitating the commission of a serious offence, and knowingly obtaining a benefit from a criminal organisation.

Wilson also told the court that her client did not know either of the witnesses nor went with them on any robberies.

She however noted that her client had seen one of them in a bar on Waltham Park Road in Kingston, but that they were never associates, and submitted that her client was identified by the witnesses as being a member of the gang after he saw him among the accused men in court and assumed that they were friends or associates.

The first anti-gang trial involving 27-year-old Wilson and 23 alleged gang members, including four women and two police officers, was initially set to be completed within three months. A 25th gangster was also scheduled to be tried separately.

The alleged gang, which is said to have wreaked havoc in St Catherine, Clarendon, St Andrew, St Mary, Manchester, Trelawny, and St Ann, was busted in December 2017.

It is said that the gang gained more than $400 million from their illegal activities across the island, and were allegedly responsible for 12 licensed firearms that were reported stolen during 18 robberies.

However, six persons have been freed thus far.

Tashina Baker, who is the girlfriend of the alleged deputy gang leader Fitzroy Scott, was discharged in July after Chief Justice Bryan Sykes upheld the no-case submissions that had been made by her attorneys.

Justice Sykes told the court then that after looking back on his notes he realised that he should have upheld her no-case submission along with the other two who were freed.

The evidence before the court was that she had accepted stolen items from Scott and sold them and also that she had pawned stolen items for the gang.

However, the judge ruled that the evidence was not sufficient to prove that she is a member of the gang or had knowingly obtained a benefit from the gang.

Junior Rose, Tevin Khani, Shadday Beckford, Judith Johnson and Cornel White were also freed on a similar basis.

Racquel Porter

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