Tue | Sep 25, 2018

#VybzKartel | Defective summation

Published:Friday | July 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett/ Senior Gleaner Writer

Justice Lennox Campbell's summation of the evidence in the Vybz Kartel murder trial was "defective in form and substance", one attorney has charged.

According to Oswest Senior-Smith, the attorney for Andre St John - one of the three men convicted of murder along with the entertainer - Campbell failed to adequately and fairly deal with the evidence posited by the four men.

Kartel was convicted in April 2014 along with his protege, Shawn Storm, as well as Kahiro Jones and Andre St John for killing Clive 'Lizard' Williams at a house in Havendale, St Andrew, in August 2011.

They were all given the mandatory life sentence, with Kartel ordered to serve 35 years before he becomes eligible for parole. Jones, St John, and Shawn Storm, whose real name is Shawn Campbell, were each ordered to serve 25 years before they are eligible for parole.

Yesterday, their attorneys wrapped up their legal arguments outlining why the convictions and sentences should be overturned.

Today, Jeremy Taylor, senior deputy director of public prosecutions, and Orrett Brown, assistant director of public prosecutions, are scheduled to respond.

Senior-Smith noted, as an example, that during the trial, there was no evidence that on the night Williams was killed, St John had a firearm or did anything that could be conceived as a threat.

"So from the outset, a distinction ought to have been made [about the alleged involvement of each accused] in the summation," he argued. "The concept of common design needed some deconstruction, certainly where Jones and St John are concerned," Senior-Smith said.

He charged, too, that the defence put forward by Kartel, real name Adidja Palmer, was treated in a cursory manner, especially his assertions that he did not send anyone to kill Williams and that he did not do it.

"The learned trial judge did not draw the distinction between what Mr Palmer said in his favour as against the allegations against him. This outright denial of any killing by Mr Palmer was not given sufficient weight by the learned trial judge in his directions to the jury," he asserted.

"As a result, the strength of Mr Palmer's unsworn statement was significantly diluted, detrimentally to Mr Palmer," he added.

Robert Fletcher, the attorney for Jones, charged that the law enforcement authorities involved in the case were "loose, lax, and inept".

According to Fletcher, this left prosecutors with no choice but to "roll out a case with deep and abiding contamination."

"And to put it at it's most generous, to lead the learned trial judge into repeated mismanagement of the trial," Fletcher argued as he wrapped up his legal arguments before the Court of Appeal this morning.