A young soldier was dishonourably discharged from the defense force on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to the charge of conduct to the prejudice of good order.
Twenty-year-old Devon ‘DMX’ Williams was found to be in breach of military code and conduct last week after he refused to proceed with a court case where four other youths were charged with stabbing Williams in January 2005.
The case against the defendants, Khoy ‘Red Rat’ Jeffers, Javez ‘Chopper’ Caines, Dwayne ‘Dutty Boy’ Bridgewater and Karim Browne was dismissed when the defense attorneys as well as the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) produced letters from Williams stating that he did not wish to proceed with the case.
Williams took the stand and affirmed the position after which the judge said the virtual complainant had wasted the court’s time. The particulars of the case as stated by the DPP were that the four accused men attacked, beat and stabbed Williams on Bank Street.
Another case where Williams was again the virtual complainant will no doubt be dismissed since letters stating that he did not wish to proceed with the case were produced. Five young men, Ivan Edwards, Rodelle Clarke, Denzil Edwards, Delroy Tota and Jamal Foreman were charged with robbing Williams. The case was adjourned to Oct 10.
According to defense force officials Williams was a witness to a murder some years ago and when it was time for the case to be tried, several persons tried to silence him by killing him.
“Because they knew he had seen the crime and they have this gang rule that members must not rat out anybody, they wanted to kill him when the case call up. At one time they shot him, the other time they stabbed him. He got stabbed under his left breast and in his back. Luckily the bullet went through his hand. We took him in to protect him and he was given the opportunity to enlist as a soldier as time went on. As a soldier he breached military discipline by allowing these people who tried to kill him and who are suspected of other crimes to get away and go back on the streets to terrorise law abiding citizens,” one source said.
Williams had been detained for a few days after pleading guilty to the charges at his Summary Hearing. He was officially stripped of his uniform and all other military garb and equipment on Wednesday and marched out of the camp as fellow soldiers turned their backs while he exited.
The Observer spoke with the young man who said he had been coerced by an uncle who harassed him to accept money from one or more of the accused mothers to ‘drop the case’. He said that lawyers and parents of the accused men had approached him personally had offered him about $6000 to not proceed with the case. According to him, he had refused the money but constant pressure from his uncle swayed his decision, as he did no want to drop the case.
Williams said he gave in and signed the documents to end the court proceedings for the wounding case but not for the robbery case. He added that he understood that his life may now be in danger since one of the men accused of his stabbing had sent threats from the prison saying that he would be killed whether he testified against them or not.
Top officials at the agency say they believed that money changed hands, but were not sure if the uncle alone had been payed off or if Williams had accepted the money himself.
Commander of the SKNDF Lt Col. Patrick Wallace told the young man he was a disgrace to the uniform and himself.
“You were given the opportunity to turn your life around. We have talked to you a lot about your attitude to life. We said you couldn’t be on the side of Law and Order and still those who are bent on destroying it. You have leaded guilty to the charges and now you must leave the premises and you will not be allowed back. You are dishonourably discharged and all records of you will be stricken from the force,” Wallace said.
Wallace told the former soldier that even though he had to take that action, it was not personal and that he would greet him if their paths crossed outside the force compound.