'I never give any instruction to pick up any firearm'

Accused denies giving information about rifle to cops

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, July 19, 2019

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THE Clarendon farmer who had allegedly turned over a rifle to the police that was reportedly used by the so-called Uchence Wilson Gang, yesterday insisted that he did not give lawmen any information about the weapon.

Odeen “Brinks” Smith, according to testimonies from police investigators, had contacted one of the investigators and told him where to find the gun shortly after police officers had visited him with the reputed gang leader, Uchence Wilson, in November 2017.

Wilson, who was heard on a phone recording, told police that another member of the gang, Stephenson “Slim” Bennett, had two guns in Clarendon, and had led the police to Smith — a taxi driver whom he claimed also had guns in his car.

The reputed gang leader, when he met up with Smith, was heard on the recording telling him to “go rise de ting dem”, but Smith initially denied knowing about the guns. He, however, told the police that the guns went missing before changing his story and telling them that Bennett had sold them.

The police eventually returned to Kingston with Wilson, empty-handed, but reportedly got a call from Smith telling them where to pick up the gun. They returned to Clarendon and retrieved the weapon.

The phone call with Smith reportedly giving police the location of the gun was recorded and replayed in court, but the recording was not very clear.

However, Smith, during his sworn testimony, denied calling the police.

“I never talk to that man on any phone and give him any instruction to pick up any firearm,” he said.

Furthermore, the accused said: “I never had a phone at that time,” later explaining that the police had previously seized his phone.

Earlier during the trial, the court heard evidence that Smith had accused Wilson of setting him up during a conversation with the police, which was also recorded.

“Mi know that from mi hand over the gun that mi either a go dead or go a prison, mi dream it. Mi a tell yuh dis, dis yah whole thing a set-up.

“The man a set up police fi kill me, di same man weh carry we in fi the gun, a him same one carry it come gi mi, so mi couldn't tell unuh seh it neva deh deh,” he was heard saying.

But in court yesterday, Smith denied saying those words.

He also testified that he was forced by the police to say things that he had not planned on saying and that he was in fear of his life because they had threatened him.

Smith also claimed that he had lied when he told them that he had sold the guns, and that he only told them this so they would leave him alone.

As it relates to taking part in the robberies and bringing members of the gang to Clarendon to rob a resident, he denied doing so, as well as being part of the gang.

Smith also denied knowing most of his co-accused. According to him, he only knew Bennett, who dated his sister; another co-accused Kenith Wynter, who is his uncle; and Wilson, who once worked on his kitchen cupboard.

Like Smith, other alleged members of the gang — such as Sheldon Christian, Sheldon Cripps and Donovan Cole — who gave sworn testimonies, all denied being part of the gang or taking part in robberies or illegal activities.

They also sought to distance themselves from their co-accused, claiming they did not know most of them, except for those who they were related to or had met once or twice.

They also denied knowing the two Crown witnesses, or the reason they would make accusations against them.

The defence will continue to present its case today before Chief Justice Bryan Sykes.

Wilson and 18 other alleged members of the gang are being tried for various offences under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act, commonly referred to as the anti-gang legislation, and for offences under the Firearms Act.


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