'Dead' witness refused protection
The key witness in the case against the alleged ‘Dexter Street' Gang reportedly rejected attempts by the police to place him in the witness protection programme. The witness, who is believed to have died, was a member of the so-called gang and was expected to testify about its activities.
However, the Crown on Tuesday withdrew the case against the 19 alleged members of the Westmoreland-based gang after efforts to locate the witness proved futile.
"We would like to also make it clear that every effort was made by the police to have the individual placed under the Witness Protection Programme. However, despite our best efforts, the individual resisted police protection and eventually disappeared altogether," the police high command said in a statement.
The alleged gangsters – 15 males and four females – were charged with breaches of the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act 2014, commonly referred to as the anti-gang legislation. They were released after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions entered a nolle prosequi suspending the matter indefinitely.
The reputed gangsters have allegedly been linked to nearly 40 murders in western Jamaica since 2016.
In a statement Wednesday morning, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) said solid police work was done in the preparation of the case against the alleged ‘Dexter Street or ‘Middle East’ Gang members.
"The Constabulary would like to thank all the hardworking investigators and prosecutors who worked on this matter. Our commitment continues to be the provision of thoroughly-investigated cases submitted to the prosecution with good supporting evidence as well as the protection of the rule of law in Jamaica. We remain committed to keeping our citizens safe," the high command said.
"We are undaunted in the fight against gang violence and organised crime in our country and confident that justice will be delivered in the 12 major gang-related cases currently before the courts," the statement added.