Witness tells court Blackman called his phone from prison as cops listenedThursday, October 28, 2021
BY JASON CROSS
A second Crown witness in the trial of 33 people alleged to be members of the Klansman gang took the stand for the first time yesterday and testified that in 2018, while in the presence of detectives from the Criminal Investigations Branch (CIB), the alleged leader of the gang, Andre “Blackman” Bryan, had called his cellphone from his jail cell.
It was this event that convinced the detectives that seated before them was a potential witness who could help prosecute Bryan and the gang.
The witness, who commanded the full attention of Bryan and his co-accused — who had jeered the first witness while being being cross-examined earlier — told the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston that on November 24, 2018, he left work between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm and visited the CIB headquarters in Kingston with information on the gang. However, he thought he was getting nowhere with cops, who did not believe his story.
“When I arrived, I was greeted by Miss Jones, a police. After I spoke to Miss Jones, I spoke to Mr Haye, who told me he was assistant commissioner. I also spoke to Mr Bailey. First, they said they didn't believe what I was saying. They thought I was lying. I told them that I communicated with Blackman and they told me there is no way I could have communicated with Blackman, because he is in a cell and has no access to any phone. After that, Blackman called my phone same time,” the witness said before beginning to explain how he became compelled to carry out the wishes of the alleged gang boss whom he had met through a friend he referred to as “Bigs”.
The witness said that, before meeting Bryan, he had previously heard of the notorious Blackman and recalled telling him, “It is nice to meet you,” to which Bryan replied, “Everything good, man.”
“Bigs asked me to pick up a friend for him, and I told him once he provides gas I would. In the evening, he came to me and said he wanted me to bring him to MegaMart on Waterloo Road. I was driving my white Toyota Axio, my personal car. Bigs and I were in the car.
“We parked in the parking lot and then he made a call. A few minutes after, a white Nissan Tiida pulled up next to my car and Blackman came out and entered my car. He sat in the back seat. It was my first time seeing him.
“We headed to Spanish Town, but there was no introduction at the time. Blackman and Bigs were talking and Bigs turned to me and said, 'A di G dis! This is Blackman.' Blackman was laughing and then he asked me to turn the AC off and wind down the window,” the witness, who was testifying from a remote location, told the court.
He said they arrived in Spanish Town and Bryan decided he wanted to freshen up before heading to Jones Avenue.
He said that it was at his home in Lauriston that Bryan, who had a backpack when he entered the vehicle, took a shower.
“Before he went into the bathroom he went in the bag and there was no underpants. He was cursing and saying if 'a dat dem put inna di bag fi him wear as a top don'. It was a jeans pants and a jersey in the bag. I gave him a brand new underwear and a marina. I also gave him a long sleeve button shirt. After he finished bathing, Bigs was on the verandah waiting, and they said they were ready,” the witness said.
“Bigs said they were going to pick up two girls before we went to Jones Avenue. We picked up the two girls on Martin Street in Coal Ground. I brought them to Jones Avenue. There is a church on Jones Avenue and a party was keeping across the road. I drink a one Guinness and then I moved,” he told the court.
The next encounter he had with Bryan, he said, was the day after the party. He was making the same rounds taking the “don” from Spanish Town to MegaMart, Bryan's pickup and drop-off spot.
About a month or two after picking up and dropping off Bryan, the witness said, he started receiving phone calls from Bryan after Bigs gave Bryan his phone number.
The witness then gave an impression of him being trapped thereafter.
“The first time he called me, he called me everyday after that. I started picking up food for him. He would send me to Constant Spring Subway when I am leaving work. I would bring his food to Jones Avenue and give it to him because him nuh mek people handle him food like dat. He would ask me to go on the road to run programme. He would give me the description of a person and I must go out and ensure the person is there.
“I started to take him from MegaMart to Jones Avenue or from Jones Avenue to MegaMart. We got so close I stopped bringing him to MegaMart. After a month or two I started to bring him straight home, off Shortwood Road. He started to give me strict instructions that when I leave work in the evenings he is not supposed to call me. He said I was suppose to be at his foot in the evenings,” the witness said.
The case comprises the largest number of accused to be tried together in one matter. It 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.
Those answering to the charges are Andre Bryan, Kevaughn Green, Tomrick Taylor, Damaine Elliston, Kalifa Williams, Daniel McKenzie, Michael Whitely, Pete Miller, Dylon McLean, Dwight Hall, Carl Beech, Lamar Simpson, Donavon Richards, Tareek James, Stephanie Christie, Fabian Johnson, Jahzeel Blake, Roel Taylor, Rushane Williams, Kemar Harrison, Joseph McDermott, Jermaine Robinson, Rivaldo Hylton, Jason Brown, Andre Golding, Marco Miller, Chevoy Evans, Brian Morris, Andre Smith, Dwayne Salmon, Ricardo Thomas, Ted Prince, and Owen Ormsby.
The trial resumes on Monday.