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Concerns stall trial of Kartel juror

Published:Tuesday | March 24, 2015 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett

The attorney for the juror accused of offering some of his peers $500,000 bribes to influence the outcome of the Vybz Kartel murder trial has raised concerns that the cell phone used to record the alleged incident was returned to its owner, who later lost it.

The concerns forced an early adjournment to the corruption trial of football coach Livingston Cain, which was expected to get under way in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court yesterday.

Cain is facing five counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice and one count of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. The trial is set to start today.

BlackBerry cell phone recording

Prosecutors are alleging that the jury foreman in the Kartel case used her BlackBerry cell phone twice to record Cain offering her $500,000. According to them, the money was to get her to influence other jurors to return not-guilty verdicts against the popular entertainer, his protÈgÈ Shawn 'Shawn Storm' Campbell, and their three co-accused, who were all on trial for the murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams.

Valerie Neita-Robertson acknowledged that prosecutors have provided her with a transcript of the recorded conversation between her client and the jury foreman, but took issue with how the phone was handled.

Neita-Robertson told the court that she was informed, through a letter from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) earlier this month, that the jury foreman has lost the cell phone.

"But we have no statement outlining the circumstances under which it was lost and where. Also, we don't have a statement outlining the circumstances under which it was returned to her (jury foreman)," Cain's attorney complained.

"It is a source material ... . It should have been sealed and made available to us to ensure that what we have is the entire recording," she added.

But with the phone unavailable, Neita-Robertson sought the assistance of presiding magistrate Maxine Ellis to get "full disclosure" of the unedited phone records of the jury foreman, who is expected to be the star prosecution witness in the case.

The request left prosecutor Sophia Thomas "at a loss".

"How do phone records become relevant to the recordings that were made?" Thomas queried.

Ellis, however, granted Neita-Robertson's request and directed that the police cybercrimes unit request the phone records from telecommunications company Digicel.