Trial of Klansman Gang to resume next MondayWednesday, October 20, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica—The trial of the 33 accused members of the St Catherine-based Klansman Gang, which was yesterday adjourned for the second time on account of a defendant’s COVID-19 positive status, is on another hiatus.
The proceedings came to a screeching halt earlier this month following news that two accused, Andre Golding and Owen Ormsby, tested positive for the virus following an outbreak at the facility where they are being held.
That development led to the trial being postponed until (Tuesday, October 19). The resumption was, however, short-lived as defendants Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan, the alleged gang leader, and Jermaine Robinson were absent from the docks when the case was called up.
Robinson, the court was told, had tested positive but was asymptomatic while Bryan’s results were to be released further on in the day.
Justice Sykes, in taking the adjournment on Tuesday, said in respect of Robinson whose quarantine will end on October 24, the courts would be taking steps to use technology to have him participate in the trial from his location. He also said if Bryan’s results were to come back positive and the technological solution is in place the trial will be able to proceed.
However, when the trial resumed at 10 today, the Chief Justice said the trial was being further adjourned until next Monday as the health protocols of the Ministry of Health had interfered with the plans to have Robinson testify from where he is being held.
Bryan, whose results had come back negative, was present in the docks.
The trial is expected to resume next Monday with the crown’s main witness continuing his testimony from a remote location.
The case, which includes the largest number of accused ever to be tried together in a single matter, is being handled by 40 attorneys. The accused are being tried under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) (Amendment) Act, commonly called the anti-gang legislation with several facing additional charges under the Firearms Act for crimes allegedly committed between 2015 and 2019. All 33 accused, who are being tried under an indictment containing 25 counts, when arraigned on September 20 at the start of the trial, pleaded “not guilty” to the charges against them.
The offences for which they are being charged include being part of a criminal organisation, murder, conspiracy to murder, arson, illegal possession of firearm, and illegal possession of ammunition. Bryan is charged with, among other things, being the leader of a criminal organisation — Klansman/One Don gang.
Since its beginning on September 20th, the trial has now been adjourned five times for varying reasons.
- Alicia Dunkley