VYBZ KARTEL TRIAL: Concerns raised about defence witness detention, DPP steps in
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
One of the attorneys for entertainer Vybz Kartel, Tom Tavares-Finson, today raised concerns about the circumstances under which a defence witness was detained by the police.
Tavares-Finson told the court this afternoon that computer specialist Philpott Martin was taken into custody yesterday by investigators attached to the Organised Crime Investigation Division.
Martin is already before the courts on allegations that he hacked into the computer systems belonging to telecommunication company, Digicel.
Tavares-Finson told the court today that Martin was detained by Inspector Warren Williams, who is a witness for the prosecution at the trial.
The lawyer told the court that the police took from Martin a statement and a DVD containing material relevant to the cross-examination of Detective Sergeant Patrick Linton, who is a prosecution witness.
Tavares-Finson said he was asking for the return of the materials.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn told the court that she heard Tavares-Finson on radio complaining about Martin’s detention and spoke to the head of OCID, Senior Superintendent Clifford Chambers about the matter.
The DPP said Chambers indicated that he was not aware that the man was associated with the defence team.
Llewellyn said she told Chambers that out of an abundance of caution, to stand down the investigation in relation to Martin until the Kartel trial is completed.
The DPP said Chambers told her that the man was simply asked to accompany the police and nothing was taken from him.
Presiding judge Justice Lennox Campbell remarked that he would not entertain any further discussion on the issues and asked the jury to dismiss comments made.
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