Chief Justice takes telephone service providers to task in Klansman trialMonday, November 29, 2021
Indications that the police had faced "challenges" in obtaining call data records integral to the ongoing trial of 33 alleged members of the St Catherine-based Klansman gang from the two mobile service providers riled trial judge Chief Justice Bryan Sykes on Monday morning.
The disclosure came during the evidence being given by the lead police investigator in the case who took the stand last Wednesday.
The call data in question was specific to a drama-filled car chase in the old capital to intercept armed gangsters aboard a motor vehicle, in an operation aided by intelligence from witness number one through an open telephone line.
According to the investigator, he and another police team had been able to ascertain the travel path of the vehicle because of the phone which was in the possession of the witness, a former gang member turned crown witness.
The chief justice, after enquiring whether the prosecution had the call records from that particular incident in its possession, was told the records were unavailable.
The police investigator, in explaining, said while the Forensic and Cybercrimes Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary had been listening in on the call at the time and had recorded it, the police had faced difficulties in getting the call data from the telecommunications companies for the cellular phones used at that time.
"How can there be a difficulty in you getting information from a service provider when the police is investigating serious crimes? How is that possible? So none of the service providers provided the call data? I want to know if that is what is being said because something is seriously wrong. Does the law permit them to withhold the information? Because if that is so the law needs to be changed; something is seriously wrong here, no man, that can't be," the chief justice said.
On the night of the incident in question, two alleged members of the criminal organisation died following a shootout with the police. The witness who was aboard the motor vehicle with the now deceased at the time of the incident was unharmed but badly "shaken", the police investigator said. He told the court that he took him to a safehouse following that incident.