Sat | Aug 17, 2019

Accused gang member denies knowing Uchence Wilson

Published:Friday | July 19, 2019 | 12:39 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

As alleged members of the Uchence Wilson Gang continued to deny its existence, accused Odeen ‘Brinks’ Smith said that he did not know the reputed gang leader as he testified in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston yesterday.

Smith said he had only seen Wilson once, when the reputed gang leader was brought to his house by co-accused Stephenson Bennett to take measurements for kitchen cupboards.

Bennett is said to have dated Smith’s sister at the time.

“The only thing me ever see that man with was a tape measure,” Smith said.

As he continued his testimony Smith also denied being a part of gang.

“I am not a part of any criminal organisation. I am not a part of any gang,” Smith asserted.

In 2017, Wilson reportedly accompanied two investigators from the Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force to Kellits, Clarendon, where they are said to have spoken to Smith about guns. This conversation was recorded and played in court during the trial.

In the recording, the cops demanded guns from Smith, but he initially denied being in possession of any. He eventually told them he would carry them to where he hid guns for Bennett.

In his defence, Smith said he told the court that he was lying.

“I was forced to say things that I didn’t plan to say,” he told the court yesterday. He said that he was also forced into a police vehicle and was threatened by one of the investigators.

But under cross-examination by prosecutors, it was suggested that the reason he did not initially tell the police about the guns was that he was afraid of going to prison.

In response, Smith said, “I was afraid for my life.”

The farmer also denied hearing his voice in a clip of the audio recording played in court yesterday.

Smith, who revealed that his uncle is co-accused Kenith Wynter, also denied having any part in two robberies the prosecution said took place in Clarendon.

Earlier in the trial, a Crown witness, claiming to be a former member of the gang, said that Smith helped the gang to carry out robberies in the parish.

Accused Sheldon Christian, Donovan Cole, Sheldon Cripps, and Wynter, who presented their cases yesterday, have all denied being part of or having knowledge of the gang.

Wilson and his 17 alleged cronies are on trial for breaches of the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act 2014, commonly known as the Anti-Gang Legislation, between 2015 and 2017.

They are also being tried for breaches of the Firearms Act.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com