Jamaica: Cops played crucial roles in deadly gang operations,court hears

(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – THE court yesterday heard shocking allegations that one of the policemen who is supposedly a member of the Uchence Wilson-led gang gave information to the leader that led to the murder of a police informant.

It is alleged that the informant made a report to Detective Corporal Lloyd Knight, who later contacted gang leader Wilson and told him that the now-deceased man was coming to the station and making complaints.

“This was done because Knight told Wilson that the deceased was an informer, as he was always coming to the police station and making reports against Wilson,” prosecutor Jeremy Taylor told the Home Circuit Court yesterday.

Taylor made the revelation as he outlined the role of each accused in the 40-member gang that had been wreaking havoc in seven parishes over the last two years.

Taylor told the court that Knight also provided information to the criminal outfit about targeted businesses and received proceeds from criminal activities.

The prosecutor also advised the court that the policeman was a conspirator in the “Fruits Man” robbery in St Mary.

“Mr Knight received a television out of that robbery and Mr Knight transported the guns used to the place of robbery and took them back after the robbery was committed,” Taylor told the court.

In another instance, a taxi operator was robbed while the Wilson gang leader was hiding from the police after he engaged the lawmen in a shoot-out in St Catherine. Following the shooting, the court heard, Wilson contacted Corporal Knight and asked him to inform him when the police left the area.

Taylor said, shortly after, his co-accused Derron Taylor and Wilson’s girlfriend, Shantol Gordon, who went to the location with a baby, took the guns from Wilson and put them in a bag.

The prosecutor said Junior Rose, one of the co-accused, came with his taxi and took the gang members out of the area one by one. Fitzroy Scott, another accused gang member, Derron Taylor and Wilson went to a plaza in Linstead, St Catherine, where they met with Knight.

Like Knight, Stephon Martin, who was also a serving member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force up to the time of his arrest, acted as a “spotter” and provided information specifically for burglaries.

In relation to a burglary at Dance JA in St Andrew, the prosecutor said Martin called one of the two “cooperating witnesses” on his cellular phone and asked if he was ready to rob the place. He said the witness went ahead and robbed the place. Shortly after, Martin allegedly called the “witness” and told him that he was patrolling the area to make sure that no one was coming.

According to the prosecutor, the “witness” said he saw when Martin drove past the location in a Hilux van a couple of times. The prosecutor said the “witness” stole approximately $100,000, two computers, a hard drive and other electronics, and an undisclosed sum of United States dollars.

The following day, the “witness” reportedly met with Martin and gave him $10,000 and told him, “Mi never find anything too big or much money, and dat mi have.”

In addition, the prosecutor said Martin remained an acquaintance with the “witness” through his co-accused and friend Fitzroy Scott.

Both policemen are charged with being accessories before the fact of committing a serious offence by a criminal organisation.

According to the police, the gang gained more than $400 million from their illegal activities across the island and were responsible for 12 of the 15 licensed firearms that were reported stolen during 18 robberies.

All the accused were yesterday remanded, except Shadae Beckford, who was pregnant at the time of her arrest. She had her bail extended with her own surety.

Prior to setting dates for bail application and the next mention of the case, the prosecutor said the Crown was opposing bail.

Some of the attorneys in the matter argued, however, that they had not received disclosure.

Peter Champagnie, the attorney representing Martin and Knight, said he had received an e-mail from the prosecutor less than 24 hours before the case was called up yesterday and so he was unable to peruse the documents.

His sentiments were shared by other attorneys.

Attorney Philmore Scott is expected to make a bail application for Judith Johnson today, while the other bail application is expected to be made on January 18.

Wilson’s attorney, Sasha-Gay Shaw, told the court that she was not interested in making a bail application on those dates given, but said she will take further instructions from her client.

Attorney Richard Lynch, who is representing Michael Lamont, expressed similar sentiments. Lamont and Wilson are expected to return to court on February 22.

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