JCF defends itself after alleged gangsters walk free
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has sought to assure members of the public that it prepared a solid case towards securing a conviction against the notorious 'Dexter Street' or 'Middle East' gang.
The JCF defended itself in a statement on Wednesday after 19 alleged members of the Westmoreland-based gang walked free in the Supreme Court following the withdrawal of the case by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The alleged gangsters were taken before the Supreme Court in 2017 for breaches of the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act 2014, commonly referred to as the anti-gang legislation.
Among those taken into custody were four women and four members of one family.
The prosecution’s case was built around a crown witness who was reportedly a member of the gang. However, the case crumbled due to the absence of the star witness.
The development triggered widespread criticisms from members of the public. However, the JCF in its statement Wednesday said "every effort was made by the police to have the (star witness) placed under the Witness Protection Programme.
"However, despite our best efforts, the individual resisted police protection and eventually disappeared altogether," the JCF said.
The JCF expressed its gratitude to the "hardworking investigators and prosecutors" who worked on the case and said it remains committed to "thoroughly-investigated cases submitted to the prosecution with good supporting evidence as well as the protection of the rule of law in Jamaica.
"We are undaunted in the fight against gang violence and organized crime in our country and confident that justice will be delivered in the 12 major gang-related cases currently before the courts," the JCF added.