(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — JUDITH Johnson, the woman who was freed after the prosecution’s case against her in the Uchence Wilson trial crumbled yesterday afternoon in the Supreme Court, said it was her family that made her survive the last 18 months in jail.
Johnson was detained in 2017 and charged with being part of a criminal organisation.
During the trial, witness one testified that he told Johnson, who operated a store in the Corporate Area, that the items she was selling were stolen.
Responding to a no-case submission by Johnson’s attorneys, Anika and Christopher Townsend prior to yesterday, the prosecution conceded that the evidence was insufficient to proceed against her.
Minutes after 4:00 pm yesterday, Chief Justice Brian Sykes told Johnson that she was free to go.
“Thank you, Sir,” the mother of one said.
When the Jamaica Observer spoke with Johnson moments later, she said she was excited to see her family who gave her continuous support.
“They never leave me out. Anything I asked for they brought,” she said.
“I’m very happy to be home. Calls are coming in from all over. I’m extremely happy. All the glory to God,” she said, noting that she had just taken a shower and was looking forward to sleeping in her own bed last night.
She added that she had just spoken to her child who resides overseas via video link.
Johnson rued having to miss spending two Christmases with her family, and said she was a bit upset with the police for not having investigated her case properly.
According to her, she told the police from the initial stages that she was not involved in any wrongdoing and expected that their investigations would have proved her right.
Johnson said initially she was told that she was charged with knowingly obtaining a benefit.
“Where is the proof?” she questioned yesterday.
Her sister, Millicent, who has attended court every day since the trial started, said their family was distraught when her younger sister was charged.
“We were very sad about it. She been here for a year and six months,” Millicent said.
Johnson is the third person to be freed in the case, following Monday’s release of Shadday Beckford and Junior Rose.
Uchence Wilson and his 20 alleged gang members are charged with being part of a criminal organisation, leadership of a criminal organisation, illegal possession of firearm, facilitating serious offence by a criminal organisation, accessory after the fact, concealing a participant in a criminal organisation, knowingly providing a benefit, knowingly obtaining a benefit, and shooting with intent.
The alleged gangsters reportedly wreaked havoc in St Catherine, Clarendon, St Andrew, St Mary, and St Ann, by carrying out robberies, shop break-ins, burglary and larceny in which items such as motor vehicles, firearms, appliances, cellular phones and other valuables were stolen between 2015 and 2017.
The trial continues today.