Sunday 18 March, 2018

Alleged female gang member denied bail in the Supreme Court

One of the alleged members of the deadly Uchence gang who are now before the courts on a slew of serious criminal charges, had her application for bail turned down on Thursday when she appeared in the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston.

Judith Johnson, 48, is charged with receiving a benefit from a gang. She was denied bail despite the pleas of her attorney, Philmore Scott.

The attorney argued that it is his client’s first brush with the law, and that she has lived an impeccable life.

Scott posited that a previous disagreement with a nephew of hers, who is reportedly a co-operating witness, and who had allegedly threatened to get even with Johnson, were the reasons for her present legal troubles.

The attorney also submitted that Johnson had voluntarily turned herself in to the police last December.

Scott argued that when his client was questioned by the police, she was not represented by an attorney, and at all times denied that she was part of a gang. He said he did not get involved until three days later, when he was contacted and a questions and answer session was arranged.

Scott said Johnson again repeatedly denied being a member of a gang when she was questioned in his presence.     

However, the presiding judge, Georgiana Frazer, would have none of it. She said the credibility of the witness was not the key question in the hearing.

She acknowledged that Johnson had voluntarily reported to the police in December, but said that was before she was to be charged.

Judge Frazer said the charge of benefiting from a criminal organisation made Johnson as culpable as the other alleged gang members. In refusing bail, Judge Frazer said she was not of the view that Johnson was a fit and proper person to be granted bond in the circumstances.

Johnson and 25 other alleged members of the Uchence gang, which is named after its alleged leader, 27-year-old Uchence Wilson, are before the courts on charges including murder, rape, armed robbery, illegal possession of firearm, and being members of a criminal gang. The gang’s deadly reach reportedly extended across seven parishes.

Wilson, who faces multiple charges of rape, murder, robbery and illegal possession of firearm, is due back in court on February 22, when an application for bail for him is to be considered.

Two members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Detective Corporal Lloyd Knight and Constable Stephon Martin, who are allegedly members of the gang, are among the accused persons before the courts.