Ex-gang member paints himself as “Robin Hood” in Jamaican court

(Jamaica Observer) An ex-member of the Uchence Wilson gang on Friday sought to paint himself as a “modern-day Robin Hood,” after surprising the court with the disclosure that he had given away some of the goods he had stolen from a female gang member to the poor.

The 21-year-old former security guard who is testifying before the Home Circuit Court via video link and whom this newspaper is referring to as Witness One because of a court order, previously admitted that he had stolen cigarettes, phone cards and coins from one of the defendant, Tashena Baker.

The witness had also told the court that he was beaten by members of the gang after Baker told them about the theft but that he did not feel bad for doing it as it “was stolen goods”.

On Friday when the trial resumed Baker’s lawyer, C J Mitchell tried to get more answers from Witness One as to his reason for stealing from his colleague and neighbour.

During the cross-examination the sharp-tongue witness was asked by Mitchell: “Were you being a Robin Hood by stealing from somebody to help yourself?”

But the witness indicated that he did not steal the goods to help himself only.

“So what, you had become a modern-day Robin Hood, you stole the goods to help the poor and not to enrich yourself?” Mitchell asked.

“After I stole from Tashena, I was giving it back to poor people,” he said while explaining that he gave away the cigarettes to poor people along with some of the phone cards, some of which he also kept for himself and sold.

The attorney then reminded him that cigarettes were bad for people’s health but the witness, while agreeing, said he had still done something good.

Witness One further indicated that he and Baker had shared a good relationship prior to the incident but that he stole the items after Baker’s boyfriend and co-accused, Fitzroy Scott was arrested.

Mitchell then asked him again if he thought there was anything wrong with what he had done and he replied by saying: “You think about it and tell me if it is wrong?”

“You are the one doing it,” the lawyer said, “So you answer.”

“I take it, I give wey some and I sell some,” he reiterated.

The lawyer then told him that he was trying to make the court believe that the goods were stolen to make himself look good.

But the witness disagreed.

“Since my words is not true I shud a tek a video and record it and show you,” he said in reference to the stolen goods.

Mitchell then suggested to the witness that he was also lying about the goods being stolen and did it because Baker had reported him to the police.

“I believe you are an excellent liar coming here to try and deceive the court,” Mitchell remarked.

“But witness One told him, “That’s your belief.”

However, during further cross-examination, while Mitchell was trying to ascertain specific dates, from the witness who has a problem recalling dates his queries were cut short after Chief Justice Bryan Sykes intervened.

Sykes, who was of the view that Mitchell’s line of questioning was pointless as it was a repetition of what he had already done, told him that he was wasting the court’s time and that the “back and forth” between him and the witness was unacceptable.

“It does not impress me, what new points are you trying to establish?” the no-nonsense Sykes asked.

Justice Sykes further told him that he should have already completed his cross-examination as there was nothing that the witness had said that required six hours of cross-examination.

Mitchell then meekly told the judge, “Suffice sir, there will be nothing further,” and took his seat.

“We should be clinical in our approach and stop wasting time,” the judge added.

In the meantime, attorney Vanessa Taylor, who is representing Stephenson Bennett, like the lawyers before her continued the attack on the witness’ character and evidence, calling him a liar.

The attorney, while pointing to several inconsistencies between what the witness had given in his statement and his evidence in court, made several suggestions to Witness One that he had lied about her client being involved in the robberies and that he was harmed.

She also told him that the reason why he had testified about things that were not in his statement was because he was not being truthful.

But the witness stuck to his defence that he was present during the robberies and had no need to lie and that he had forgotten some of the details while giving his statement because of the vast number of robberies that they went on.

“It was like a every night thing,” he said,

Witness One will continue to undergo further cross-examination tomorrow when the trial resumes.

Wilson and 23 of his alleged cronies, among them police corporal Lloyd Knight, are being tried for various offences under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act, commonly referred to as the Anti-Gang Legislation, and also for offences under the Firearms Act.

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