Judge blocks transcripts of recordings in gang trial

November 24, 2021

Two of three transcripts of the secret recordings of alleged members of the One Don Gang were blocked on Tuesday from being entered into evidence after defence lawyers raised objections.

The prosecution's first police witness and the third of 42 in the Clansman-One Don Gang trial testified in the Home Circuit Court that she had spent more than a year transcribing the recordings, which she had received on a compact disc. The court heard that the witness had prepared two documents, including one which had more than 175 pages.

The witness told the court that she completed the transcription this year.

According to the police witness, the prosecution's second witness was present and had identified the voices and had also listened and checked the transcripts for errors.

The prosecution's second witness had testified that he had secretly recorded phone conversations that he had with key alleged members of the gang, including the reputed leader Andre 'Blackman' Bryan, and had handed them over to the police.

But defence lawyers objected to having the documents tendered into evidence. Attorney-at-law Lloyd McFarlane, who is representing Bryan, objected on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to identify the voices in the recordings.

Fellow attorney Kymani Brydson argued that there was no evidence about the safekeeping and integrity of the recording. Brydson is representing defendants Tomrick Taylor, Owen Ormsby, and Daniel McKenzie. Attorney-at-law Walter Melbourne, who is representing defendant Damaine Elliston, also argued that there was no evidence indicating the origin of the compact discs and the chain of custody.

Following the objections, the presiding judge, Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, accepted the objections as reasonable points and ruled that the prosecution would need to submit further evidence on the origin of the compact disc and the chain of custody before the documents can be tendered as evidence.

He, however, accepted a request from the prosecution for the transcripts to be marked for identity.

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