10 alleged members of King Valley Gang to face court soon
TEN alleged members of the Westmoreland-based King Valley Gang are soon to face the court, the police have told the Jamaica Observer.
Among them are seven who deputy commissioner of police (DCP) in charge of the crime Fitz Bailey said were picked up recently and three who had remained behind bars in relation to other crimes after being freed by Chief Justice Bryan Sykes last July.
“There are about three of them who had remained in custody [following the trial because they were wanted in connection with other crimes] who we believe are going to be charged jointly with these individuals [the seven who were recently picked up],” DCP Bailey told the Observer earlier this week.
The three, Bailey said, “remained in custody and continued to perpetrate crimes from within, giving instructions and directives”.
“It will be amazing when the evidence unfolds what will be revealed, what they did whilst they were in custody,” he told the Observer.
“After the case was dismissed, we got further information and we have been working with the information and we have retrieved a significant amount of evidence. A number of the guys who were released went back into their criminal lifestyle, creating mayhem — murder, shootings, robbery, gun-running, all types of crimes — and we continued our investigations to the point where it culminated in those seven persons being arrested. So technically it’s 10 persons. The three that were in custody and seven that we picked up,” DCP Bailey outlined.
The seven, inclusive of four men and one woman, were nabbed during a targeted police operation last week, DCP Bailey said.
He also said the three who had remained in custody are expected to be charged jointly with the seven in respect of the latest rounds of investigations.
“The other three who are in custody are the subject of these investigations as well. They are charged with other creditable offences whilst in custody. When the case was dismissed they were charged whilst in custody for other crimes; one was charged for purporting to murder a Crown witness, that is Derval Williams (OC Lukie), he is the leader of the gang,” DCP Bailey explained.
He said that since the ruling handed down last July by the chief justice, the police have gathered significant evidence. He said the intention was to prosecute under the anti-gang legislation once again.
“The seven of them are going through the interview process right now as we speak. One or two might have been settled already. One of the females was charged for possession of ammunition — 22 assorted rounds were found and she was charged with that. We know that she was actually a dealer in terms of selling rounds of ammunition and firearms on behalf of the gang leader,” he said.
January last year marked the start of the trial for nine accused members of the gang. Three of the nine alleged members were freed by Chief Justice Sykes at the very onset, due to lack of evidence. Six others stood trial, but were ultimately released in July last year.
In the wake of that decision, Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn, QC, who had expressed “surprise” at the outcome of the almost seven-month long trial, had indicated that while the verdicts could not be appealed, the glimmer of hope in the outcome was the fact that five of the six had other matters pending before at least two other courts and would therefore remain in the custody of the police pending bail applications.
The six accused had been charged in an indictment containing 11 counts on suspicion of being part of a criminal organisation; providing benefits to a criminal organisation; and conspiring to commit murder, rape, and robbery with aggravation from as early as 2013. They had been in custody since October 2018. The case was being keenly watched, largely because of the graphic description of the alleged crimes committed by the accused and also because it had been widely seen as a test of the anti-gang legislation passed six years before the trial.
A former gang member turned star witness, over several days at the start of the trial testified via live video link from an undisclosed location, telling the court that the alleged gang members were involved in the deadly lottery scamming scheme, had committed murders and rapes in the course of robberies, and were also killers for hire.
The witness said he had, in 2018, handed himself over to the police and decided to give evidence against them after they killed seven of his own family members, including his father, aunt, two uncles, a cousin, his sister, and an in-law, in seeking to flush him out of hiding.
But the chief justice said, other than with respect to one count, “There is no other evidence supporting the narrative of [the witness] on any of the other counts.”
Justice Sykes, in one observation, had pointed to the absence of rape victims from the line-up of evidence, statements of victims, or even police reports of the incidents on the part of the prosecution.
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