Gangster gets 10 years 

JailCell

Twenty-two-year-old Klansman gangster Jordan Markland was yesterday sentenced to 10 years in prison and created history as the first to be convicted under 2014 anti-gang legislation.

However, he will serve only eight years and five months after his sentence was discounted by 19 months, for time already spent in custody.

The convict, who was a security guard at the time of his arrest in July 2015, was sentenced by Justice Marcia Dunbar-Green in the St Catherine Home Circuit Court after he previously pleaded guilty to being a part of or participating in a criminal organisation.

Justice Dunbar-Green, in handing down the sentence, told Markland, who appeared repentant throughout the proceedings, that she took into consideration that he indicated his desire to plead guilty from the outset of the matter, had no previous conviction, and that he did not waste judicial time.

“A guilty person must be encouraged to plead guilty, because guilty is an indication of remorse, and not only that, it also indicates the possibility of rehabilitation,” she added.

Justice Dunbar-Green also took into account the seriousness of the offence and the violent acts that were committed by Markland, but at the same time noted that she had to balance them against the mitigating circumstances.

“I have to bear in mind that he had a difficult upbringing and that he was groomed from a child to become a part of the gang, and that must have been very traumatic and sad for a child,” she said.

The judge explained that the maximum sentence for the charge under the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organisations) Act is 20 years, but that she had decided to start at 15 since Markland had not proceeded to trial. She also indicated that, by law, a discount should be given when a plea of guilt is entered.

In addition, she told Markland that although he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the 19 months that he had already served in custody should further be deducted from his sentence.

“Sir, you are now 22, if you serve the sentence you might be eligible for parole, and you might end up getting out at 27, so you will still be young and will have an opportunity to redress your wrongs and to change your life around,” Justice Dunbar-Green said.

She then warned him to continue on the path of change that he had embarked on, use the time in prison to reflect on his life, and to resist the opportunity to get involved with any other gang.

During yesterday’s sentencing the only obvious show of support for Markland came from his father.

Details of Markland’s activities in the feared gang that has wreaked havoc in Spanish Town and his life were, however, intentionally omitted from this story based on an order from the judge.

Under the Act, a judge has the power to direct what information pertaining to the case is made public in the interest of the administration of justice, public safety, public order, or public morality. A breach of this order may result in a conviction in the parish court, a maximum fine of $1 million and/or imprisonment up to 12 months.

In the meantime, Deputy Superintendent of Police Samuel Blake, head of the Anti-Gang Unit at Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch, said the police were happy with the conviction and pledged to continue the fight against criminal gangs.

“C-Toc is encouraged by this result and will continue to coordinate the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s efforts to disrupt, degrade and ultimately dismantle gangs in Jamaica,” he said.