Shocked and overjoyed - Man freed in One Don trial glad for second chance
For 30 long months, Owen Ormsby found himself facing the perils of prison having been locked up by police and accused of being part of the infamous One Don faction in the Clansman gang.
Ormsby, who hails from Lauriston in Spanish Town, St Catherine, was one of 33 persons facing a lengthy stay in prison if convicted under the anti-gang act. But on Thursday, he breathed a humongous sigh of relief after the prosecution indicated that it did not have enough evidence to prove its case against him and three other co-accused -- Damaine Elliston, Rivaldo Hylton and Rushane Williams .
"When mi hear it, mi come to joy.... I was so shocked, cyah believe it happened," Ormsby told THE STAR during an exclusive interview at his home in Kingston.
"The morning before court started my woman told me to pray, and mi go dung pon mi knee and beg God fi give me a second chance," he said.
Ormsby, who was tried for conspiracy to commit murder and arson, was branded as the 'programme man' for the feared criminal organisation during the landmark trial currently under way in the Home Circuit Court. He repeatedly denied the allegations.
"It is an embarrassing feeling and, to be honest, most of my family are ashamed of it. I lost my father while l was in jail, he died because he was fretting over my situation," said Ormsby, as he took a sip from a bottle of Guinness stout.
"My time in jail, very rough. It was so embarrassing. Sleepless nights without food! I can tell yuh, jail life no easy. Yuh affi eat fish with scale on it, chicken with feathers and all of those things."
Ormsby said that coupled with the public shame, he lost touch with his seven-year-old daughter. He is now hoping to reconnect with her.
"From l got arrested on November 25, 2019, l have not heard or seen her. I know she is aware of my situation because her mother must tell her. I am now focused on building back that relationship because things were good before l got arrested," he said.
Another one of Ormsby's focus is to return to school in order to get certified and ready for the job market.
"I have to be a changed man. ... When l was in jail I was able to think a lot. I get to see all of my mistakes. But, I mostly want to leave this country because even though mi buss this case, the anti-gang charge will stain for life. I don't think l can go out there now and get a job after this," he said.
With a new lease on life, Ormsby said that he intends make the chance he has been handed count. He said, too, that he understands why members of the public have been furious about his aquittal.
"To tell the honest truth, I can understand their anger. Nobody likes to hear about violence. They made me feel like a criminal, carried us around like high risks [people]. Believe me, it is so embarrassing and disappointing, but there is no one perfect and you have to live with it. My view on violence in Jamaica is simple. To my knowledge and understanding, it is the two [political] parties that mash up the country. Most of the violence you see taking place is because of politics," he said.