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(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — Junior Rose, who has been on trial for allegedly being a member of the notorious Uchence Wilson Gang and who spent the last 16 months behind bars, could not contain his excitement yesterday when he and co-accused Shadday Beckford walked free from the Supreme Court.
The 33-year-old mechanic from Denham Town in west Kingston was charged with being part of a criminal organisation and facilitating serious offence by a criminal organisation. Beckford, meanwhile, was charged with being part of a criminal organisation and accessory after the fact in the carrying out a serious offence by a criminal organisation.
Rose had been identified by one of the two main witnesses who are ex-members of the gang. Beckford had been implicated for possession of a stolen phone which had been given to her by her lover, Michael Lamont, who is also on trial for reportedly being a member of the gang.
Yesterday, when the trial resumed after a month-long break, the prosecutor told Chief Justice Bryan Sykes that the Crown was not in a position to successfully prosecute them.
As Rose sat awaiting his ride home, he put into words what he was feeling.
“Mi haffi happy say mi come out; cause mi deh jail how long; a almost two years now, so mi feel a more joyful feelings say mi come out and can move around with mi youth dem and things. I kinda feel joyful now say I can go out deh and go around and look for dem. Mi kinda feel good fi dat,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
Rose, a father of four, said he was not surprised at the outcome of his case.
“Dem never have anything on mi. It’s just that they took a car from me, and I went to the complaints department and the police bring vindictive feelings. Dem never really like that, tru me go to the police complaints department. Dem never really have nutten pon mi, so mi no surprise to wa gwaan cause mi know mi haffi come out in anyway soon,” Rose said.
According to him, the garage he operated prior to this arrest has now fallen apart and he will have to start all over.
“Mi can start over again; seven time rise, seven time fall. The greatest thing is that mi have mi freedom again.”
As he was being interviewed, Rose’s companion, Sharon Brown, arrived and threw herself on top him in excitement. The two rolled around in the grass, hugging and kissing each other.
The two left in a waiting motor car before the Observer got a chance to speak with Brown.
Beckford, meanwhile, who unlike her co-accused had been on bail, declined to comment, but indicated that she was pleased with the outcome of her case.
Besides conceding that they had no evidence to convict Rose and Beckford, the prosecution also withdrew a number of counts against some of the defendants. The Crown indicated that there was no evidence to support 11 counts of facilitating serious offences by criminal organisation in relation to Uchence Wilson, Fitzroy Scott, Michael Lamont, Keron Walters, Sheldon Christian, Stephenson Bennett, and Odeene Smith, who were facing one or more counts for their alleged participation in different robberies.
A count of illegal possession of firearm, for which Wilson, Bennett, Taylor and Lamont were charged, was similarly withdrawn because of a lack of supporting evidence.
Additionally, the prosecution indicated that it had no reliable evidence to support the two counts against Corporal Lloyd Knight — accessory before the fact in the carrying out of a serious offence by a criminal organisation and illegal possession of a firearm — which stem from an alleged robbery in St Mary.
In the meantime, defence lawyers who yesterday began their no-case applications have maintained that the Crown has not presented any offence to prove primarily that their clients were, in fact, members of the Uchence Wilson Gang.
Attorney Lloyd McFarlane, who is representing the reputed leader, said the Crown has also not presented any evidence to show that his client was guilty of rape.
Wilson and 21 others, including alleged deputy leader Fitzroy Scot, three females including Wilson’s companion Shantol Gordon, and Cpl Lloyd Knight as well as two former employees of a pawn shop in Kingston are being tried for various offences under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act, commonly referred to as the anti-gang legislation.
The trial will continue today with more no-case submissions from defence attorneys.