Former Jamaican gangster says robberies were fun

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(Jamaica Observer) An ex-member of the Uchence Wilson Gang yesterday told the Home Circuit Court that he had committed some of the robberies with the gang for fun.

The former gang member, who is testifying before the court via video link and whom this newspaper is referring to as Witness One because of a court order, was being cross-examined by attorney Christopher Townsend, who is representing his aunt, Judith Johnson, when he made the startling assertion.

“Are you a criminal?” Townsend asked.

“No, I was a criminal,” Witness One replied.

He was then asked if he had engaged in criminal activities for a living, and he denied doing so.

“Did you do it for fun?” the lawyer then asked.

“Yes, no, sometimes,” the witness answered.

However, the witness’s disclosure is in stark contrast to his previous testimony before the court in which he claimed that his conscience was one of the reasons why he went to the police with information about the gang and why he was testifying in court because he was troubled about the fact that the gang was robbing poor people.

The witness, who has testified about a series of robberies that the gang had allegedly committed and had also provided details about the gang’s operation and structure was, however, questioned at length about his involvement in criminal activities which he said started from he was very young.

He denied stealing money from students at his school and a teacher while he was nine; instead, he admitted that he started stealing about 12.

According to Witness One, he had engaged in a lot of stealing and had told a lot of lies to cover his tracks while he was young.

But he denied that he was asked to leave two schools because of theft. In the first instance, he said that he was asked to leave because he had injured a student, and in the other because he was wearing tight pants and shirt.

The witness, who also admitted to stealing from his aunt and injuring his father, who he claimed had abused him, accepted that he was a thief but not a liar.

But Townsend, while reminding him that he had earlier admitted to telling lies to cover his tracks asked, “Have you stopped being a liar?”

“Long time,” he answered.

In earlier cross-examination conducted by attorneys Donald Bryan and Sasha-Gaye Shaw, he was accused of telling lies on their clients.

Bryan, who is representing Dayne Edwards, suggested to the witness that his client was not a member of the gang which is accused of a reign of terror in five parishes between 2015 to 2017, but the witness disagreed.

The attorney then asked Witness One if he was aware that Edwards had been in custody for most of 2015, and that in 2016 his client was hospitalised twice with a broken arm and was getting follow-up treatment at a clinic.

Witness One said he was not aware of that and did not recall Edwards being on crutches, but knew him as someone who was always going in and out of lock-ups.

“Him always inna trouble,” the witness said.

The witness maintained that he met Edwards in the gang and had known him for two years.

Shaw, who is representing Odeen Smith, whom Witness One said was instrumental in the robbery of a man in Kellits, Clarendon, after selecting him and bringing members of the gang to his house, suggested that Smith was not the spotter in that robbery and that he was not involved any at all.

She also suggested to Witness One that Smith was not a member of the gang, but he disagreed.

Reputed gang leader Uchence Wilson and 23 alleged gang members, including alleged deputy Fitzroy Scott, four women and Police Corporal Lloyd Knight, are facing charges 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.

Witness One will continue to face more cross-examination today.

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