Sun | Dec 16, 2018

The Vybz Kartel Appeal | The integrity of the evidence is intact - Prosecutors

Published:Saturday | July 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett/ Senior Gleaner Writer

The integrity of the phone video, text messages, and voice notes used to convict dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel of murder remain intact and was properly left to jurors to consider, a prosecutor has argued.

Further, prosecutors yesterday asked the Court of Appeal to dismiss claims by attorneys for the entertainer and the three men convicted with him that the actions and utterances of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn during the 17-week trial amounted to prosecutorial misconduct.

"Is there any allegation that the Crown hid any evidence or hid any witness? No," Jeremy Taylor, senior deputy director of public prosecutions, told the panel of three judges hearing Kartel's appeal to overturn his conviction and sentence.

"It cannot be held that the DPP acted maliciously in the conduct of this trial," Taylor insisted.

Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, was convicted in April 2014, along with his protÈgÈ Shawn Storm, as well as Kahiro Jones and AndrÈ

St John, for killing Clive 'Lizard' Williams at a house in Havendale, St Andrew, in 2011.

Their attorneys argued for four days this week that the convictions should be quashed because of multiple defects during the trial. They charged, among other things, that it amounted to prosecutorial misconduct when Llewellyn did not stop the trial after she became aware of allegations that one of the jurors allegedly tried to bribe his colleagues to return a verdict of not guilty.

In addition, the attorneys for the four men said that the evidence lifted from three mobile phones belonging to Kartel was contaminated and that Justice Lennox Campbell erred when he allowed them to be admitted as evidence and with the directions he gave the eleven-member panel.

However, Orrett Brown, assistant director of public prosecutions, acknowledged that there were at least five instances where Kartel's mobile phone was used while it was in the custody of police investigators, but he said that there could be no doubt as to the integrity of the data extracted from the instrument.

"Where gaps arise in the continuity [of the evidence], they do not bar admissibility. What they affect is the weight or cogency that is attached to the evidence," he said of the alleged phone tampering.

Brown also shot down an assertion by Shawn Storm's attorney, Bianca Samuels, that the meta data for one of the damning text messages used to convict the four men had been created on July 6, 2011, six weeks before Williams' death.

"Between me and you, a chop wi chop up di bwoy Lizard fine fine and dash him weh, nuh. As long as wi a live, dem can never find him," the message read.

But Brown, citing the testimony of one police investigator, noted that it was the folder containing the message that was created on July 6, 2011. "That message was created on August 19, 2011, three days before the date on the indictment [when Williams was killed]," he indicated.

"It is our submission that this is a misapprehension of the message," said Brown.

He noted, too, that the video, text messages, and voice notes all carried a date and a time stamp, "which are important to prove the provenance of the forensic evidence".

Prosecutors are to complete their submissions on Monday.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com