Fri | Jan 21, 2022

Defence accuses lead investigator of lousy detective work

Published:Saturday | December 4, 2021 | 12:09 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

The lead investigator in the Clansman-One Don Gang case yesterday dismissed a suggestion that his investigation was shabbily done.

Attorney-at-law Kimani Brydson, who is representing defendants Tomrick Taylor, Owen Ormsby and Daniel McKenzie, made the suggestion to the detective sergeant during his cross-examination in the Home Circuit Court after establishing that the lawman had no training in forensic analysis of crime scenes and other technical expertise.

“I am going to suggest to you that your investigation into this matter was a poorly conducted one,” the lawyer said.

“That is your understanding,” replied the police witness, who has served 21 of his 30 years in the police force as a detective.

Brydson had questioned the witness about his background in forensic analysis of crime scenes, ballistic testing of firearms and ammunition, and the analysis of mobile technological devices, to which the witness had indicated that he was not trained in those areas.

“What that means is that you, Sergeant [redacted], you're not in a position to say whether or not a device was tampered with,” Brydson asserted.

“That may be so,” the witness conceded.

“You also have no forensic training or background in the analysis of voice audio recordings, isn't that true?” Brydson further asked.

But while admitting that this was the truth, the witness said that he does not believe that an individual needs to be trained in that area to identify voices.

However, he admitted that he could not detect tampering or manipulation of voices and audio recordings.

The police witness previously testified that he had given the prosecution's second witness, a self-confessed former member of the One Don Gang, two of the three phones used to record the conversations of alleged members of the gang.

The witness said that he had collected the phones from the witness when the memory was full and had submitted them to the police's Communication Forensic and Cybercrimes Department.

Collected illegal guns

He had also testified that he had collected two illegal weapons – a rifle and a handgun – from the ex-gangster. The court had been told that on the day he collected the rifle, he had taken it to the Caymanas Park Police Station and had retrieved it the following day, taking it to the Scenes of Crime office on Spanish Town Road in Kingston and the Forensic Laboratory on Old Hope Road in St Andrew.

The detective sergeant yesterday agreed with Brydson that Spanish Town was not relatively far from the Caymanas Police Station.

Suggesting that the investigation was poorly done, the attorney also told the investigator that he had no evidence linking his three clients to the gang or its activities., but the witness disagreed.

During further cross-examination by the defence, the witness was taken to task by Alexander Shaw for not issuing the ex-gangster with a device that was preloaded with a recording application by the police.

The witness had previously testified that he had given the ex-gangster two new phones and that the witness had downloaded a call recording application on the phone.

But Shaw, who is representing the lone female defendant, Stephanie Christie, told him that he knew the purpose of the phones and the phone that he gave the witness never had that application at the time when he handed them over.

“Counsel, I think you know better than that,” the witness said, while indicating that phones do not come equipped with a recording app and can be downloaded from the Google PlayStore.

But following the intervention Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, the witness agreed that it would have been a “best practice” for the police to have installed the application on the phones to avoid any corruption and to know definitely what application was on the phone and how it was supposed to work.

Reputed leader of the One Don gang, Andre 'Blackman' Bryan, and 32 other alleged gang members are being tried on an indictment with 25 counts under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) Act and the Firearms Act.

The One Don Gang is a breakaway faction of the Clansman Gang.

The witness will continue to face further cross-examination when the case resumes on Monday.