Eight alleged Clansman gang members freed of charges
Eight alleged members of the Spanish Town based Clansman gang who are accused of murder and other major crimes were freed when they appeared before the Home Circuit Court Thursday afternoon.
Prosecutors admitted that they were encountering challenges getting their two main witnesses to testify against them.
Prosecutors from the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions applied to the trial judge for the men to be tried using the statements of the witnesses under the Evidence Act.
They argued that the witnesses had received death threats from persons aligned to the gang and decided not to appear out of fear.
However, the judge rejected the application on the basis that the prosecutors failed to meet the requirements of the Evidence Act to allow the matter to be heard in the absence of the witnesses.
As a result the case was dismissed.
The men were charged in 2017 under the anti-gang legislation following a crackdown by the authorities on members of the Clansman gang.
Prosecutors alleged that the men were involved in murders, shootings, extortion, robberies and other major crimes in Spanish Town and its environs.
After consulting with DPP Paula Llewellyn, the prosecutors returned to court late Thursday afternoon and entered a nolle prosequi which means that the Crown reserves the right to bring back the case if the witnesses decide to cooperate.
Three of the men remain in custody in relation to other serious crimes.