6th Accused Klansman/One Don Gang Member Freed of Charges
As the Klansman/One Don Gang trial seemingly nears its end, another accused defendant has been freed of the charges laid against him.
During the highly publicized trial, the prosecution relied on the testimony of former gangsters-turned-state witnesses and secretly recorded cell phone conversations as proof that the accused were members of the Klansman gang. However, the presiding judge, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, found that the evidence against the accused member Carl Beech was insufficient.
Beech was found not guilty of the charges laid against him on Tuesday in the Home Circuit Court. He was accused of facilitating the murder and conspiracy to murder a person called ‘Outlaw’ on November 2, 2017. According to reports from the Jamaica Gleaner, a former member who drove for the gang testified that while he was transporting co-accused Tareek James to carry out the murder, Beech volunteered to join the men.
However, justice Sykes said the evidence on its own did not establish that Beech was a part of the gang or that he was aware that James and the driver belonged to a gang. Additionally, Sykes pointed out that the other witness did not mention Beech’s involvement.
A total of six accused Klansman members have been freed. In May 2022, Damaine Elleston, Rushane Williams, Owen Ormsby, and Rivaldo Hylton were acquitted of being part of the gang, conspiracy to commit murder, and multiple other offences. The prosecution acknowledged that they lacked adequate proof to show that the defendants had committed those offences. Dwayne Salmon, who was charged with two counts of being a member of a criminal organisation and illegal possession of a firearm, was also later acquitted.
Andre ‘Blackman’ Bryan, the alleged leader of the criminal group, is one of over two dozen defendants who remain on trial. On Monday, Justice Sykes expressed that the evidence presented in the trial proved Bryan was the gang’s leader.
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“I am satisfied that on this evidence presented, a criminal organisation existed and having regard to the role he [Bryan] played, he was the leader,” Sykes stated.