Wed | Oct 17, 2018

#VybzKartelAppeal | Prosecutors: Text messages show admission of murder

Published:Tuesday | July 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett/ Senior Gleaner Writer

A prosecutor yesterday urged a panel of Court of Appeal judges to treat a damning text message lifted from the mobile phone of popular entertainer Vybz Kartel as an "admission to murder".

"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," read the BlackBerry message, which prosecutors say was sent from Kartel's phone.

"Yea man, a mince meat that," the person responded.

Seeking to convince the Court of Appeal to leave the entertainer's murder conviction intact, Jeremy Taylor, senior deputy director of public prosecutions, argued that the message shows Kartel's state of mind and that he was aware of the plan to kill Clive 'Lizard' Williams.

"In fact, I will go further, it constitutes an admission to murder. That is how we are asking you to view this message," Taylor asserted.

Kartel, real name Adidja Palmer; his protege, Shawn Storm, real name Shawn Campbell; as well as Kahira Jones and Andre St John, were convicted of murder in April 2014 for killing Williams at a house in Havendale, St Andrew, in 2011. All four were given the mandatory life sentence, with Kartel ordered to serve 35 years before he becomes eligible for parole. Campbell, Jones and St John were each ordered to serve 25 years before they become eligible for parole.

However, the four men, through their attorneys, have asked the Court of Appeal to quash their convictions and sentences, arguing, among other things, that the 11-member jury was allowed to consider contaminated evidence. They argued, too, that the actions and utterances of Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn during Kartel's murder trial amounted to prosecutorial misconduct and that the presiding judge, Justice Lennox Campbell, gave "defective" directions to the jury in his summation of the evidence.

But Taylor, who was the lead prosecutor in the murder trial, urged the Court of Appeal to find that those arguments have no merit.

In the alternative, he asked the panel of three judges to find that even if inadmissible evidence had been included in the trial, it would not have amounted to a miscarriage, as there was at least 19 pieces of circumstantial evidence the jury could have used to reach the same verdict.

Among them, he said, were text messages of Williams begging for the police to be called and text messages from Shawn Storm that someone was going to die and that the messages were to be deleted.

The attorneys for the four men will get a chance today to respond to aspects of the submissions made by prosecutors.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com