Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Peter Vogel Trial | Prosecutor, defence attorney paints different picture for jurors

Published:Wednesday | June 28, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett
In this file photo, a policeman leaves the crime scene where Dr Peter Vogel was killed at his College Common home in Mona, St Andrew.

One defence attorney in the Dr Peter Vogel murder trial yesterday charged that investigators were determined to pin the death of the late university lecturer on his former helper and her boyfriend.

"The investigation was sloppy," attorney-at-law Diane Jobson asserted, pointing out to the seven-member jury that there was no identification parade, no DNA, no fingerprints and no eyewitnesses to Vogel's death.

However, lead prosecutor Maxine Jackson painted a different picture, describing the slaying of the one-time University of the West Indies lecturer at his College Common, St Andrew, home, as a "vicious act of covetousness" and urged jurors to hold the two accused responsible.

"We are saying they committed this act. Robbery and malice at the fact that she was about to be fired are important factors that must be considered," Jackson underscored.

Yanika Scott, Vogel's former live-in helper, and her boyfriend, Kelvin Downer, are on trial for killing the late lecturer inside his home on July 18, 2007. His hands were tied behind his back, his feet bound at the ankles, and a piece of cloth tied around his mouth.

Forensic pathologist Dr S.N. Prasad Kadiyala testified that he was strangled.

Jobson suggested that Scott and her boyfriend were targeted as suspects because "white man dead uptown".

"In the old days, in England, when a white man was killed, the first person they looked at as suspects were the butlers and the gardeners. In Jamaica, we don't use butlers, so the helper is the substitute," she argued.

"You think that if they had found Miss Scott tied up and her head bashed in and Dr Vogel and his wife were off to Cayman ... you think they would be considered suspects. I think not," she underscored during her closing argument in the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.


'Love your neighbour ...'


Jackson frequently made reference to the scriptures and the Ten Commandments as she outlined how Vogel and his wife took Scott, who resided in the Maxfield Avenue area at the time, into their home and tried to assist her.

She pointed to evidence presented during the three week-old trial that the Vogels considered sending her to driving school because they liked her.

"This is a situation where this man, out of the goodness of his heart, provided employment for these people, not only for themselves, but their young daughter," said Jackson, who is also a deputy director of public prosecutions.

"So in a sense, she was hungry, she was a stranger and he took them in ... . This is the worst kind of act. The deceased and his family were following one of the Ten Commandments ... to love your neighbour as yourself," she underscored.

Jackson told jurors that Scott became angry and bitter after Vogel's wife told her from Cayman, where she was working at the time, that her services would be terminated a week later.

Scott's attorney will give her closing arguments today.