Acquittal plea for Blackman as star defense witnesses | Main stories

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While calling the prosecution’s two key witnesses ‘bad’ and ‘unreliable’, lead attorney for reputed Clansman-One Don Gang leader Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan on Tuesday asked the judge to dismiss the evidence confessed ex-gangsters and acquit his client.

Lead attorney Lloyd McFarlane stressed that evidence from former mobsters should not be relied upon, as no independent evidence has been presented to support their claims about his client.

McFarlane said the court could not trust the duo’s statements, noting that even the prosecution’s own evidence, the secretly recorded voice conversation of the alleged mobsters, contradicted one of the witnesses’ testimonies.

Both witnesses had identified themselves as Blackman’s drivers, one of them also being the gang’s banker.

The other, who said he was later promoted to second-in-command and given a community gift title, also claimed he was Bryan’s trusted confidant.

But McFarlane, during his closing speech in Home Circuit Court, argued that it was dangerous to accept their testimony without independent evidence.

The attorney noted that his client was originally charged with the now reduced indictment of 25 counts, but has since been found not guilty on eight counts.

This, he pointed out, was partly related to the prosecution’s failure to provide independent evidence to corroborate the testimonies presented by the two main witnesses regarding the dismissed charges.

However, McFarlane said on Tuesday that the prosecution still has not satisfied the court with corroborating evidence on the remaining nine counts.

He pointed out that the Crown had missed the mark on all counts.

Among those he said were the August 2018 murder of Damaine ‘Doolie’ Forrester at Chancery Street in St Andrew and the double murder and arson at New Nursery, Fisheries, St Catherine in September 2018.

The two witnesses had provided evidence that Bryan had ordered and planned Forrester’s murder and that the mobsters had been dispatched three times by Blackman to kill the man before they succeeded.

Forrester was reportedly sentenced to death due to his affiliation with a rival faction of the Clansman Gang.

But McFarlane said the Crown had not submitted any independent evidence to support the ex-mobsters’ claim that his client planned the murder.

The attorney also claimed that the testimonies of the two were contradictory: one said the two traveled in the same car while the other claimed he was in a separate car.

Regarding the murder-arson, the former don had testified that Blackman was part of two groups of gangsters who went to “pound” Fisheries on the night in question and that Blackman took a gun from his bodyguard. , the accused Tareek James, and shot the man, while James shot the woman.

The other witness also said he was present when the men were planning the attack, but did not go to the community, as he had been sent to scout the road.

But again, McFarlane argued that the Crown provided no evidence to support the witness’s claim that Bryan was present or that he shot and killed anyone.

Besides the lack of corroborating evidence, McFarlane said the witness also demonstrated that his evidence should not be trusted.

He pointed to the alleged donation’s testimony that Blackman asked him to collect $150,000 from one of their alleged cronies to buy a gun.

However, the lawyer pointed out that in one of the secret voice recordings that were released during the trial, a man identified as City Puss was heard instructing the witness regarding the money and how much he should take for himself- same.

City Puss was identified during the trial as the defendant Jason Brown, the deputy commander of the gang.

“It’s an illustration of why it’s dangerous to trust the cowardly don, the only don that has never carried a gun,” McFarlane said.

Furthermore, he pointed out that the evidence not only did not support the witness’s claim, but went even further in contradicting the prosecution witness.

The lawyer, during his presentation, also argued that there had been instances in which his client had been charged with conspiracy to murder, but no evidence was presented to prove this.

In one instance, he said all the witness said was that his client had sent him to Waterloo to retrieve the weapons.

But again, he said that not only was this testimony supported by independent evidence, it was “clearly insufficient” to establish a conspiracy.

Defense attorneys will continue their closing arguments when the trial resumes today.

tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com

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