Tom Tavares-Finson courting the stars

BY BRIAN BONITTO Associate Editor — Auto and Entertainment bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, March 15, 2014    

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WHILE the court of public opinion may be split on the guilty verdict in the Vybz Kartel murder trial, the deejay's lead attorney Thomas Tavares-Finson, is planning his next move.

"I am beginning to assemble a team to review the documents because we will appeal," he told the Jamaica Observer.

Kartel (given name Adidja Palmer) was found guilty for the October 2011 death of Clive 'Lizard' Williams in the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston, on Thursday.

His co-accused, Shawn Campbell also known as Shawn Storm; Kahira Jones, and Andre St John were also found guilty. They will be sentenced on March 27.

Shane Williams, who was also charged, was acquitted.

Tavares-Finson is no stranger to the limelight. The 61-year-old has represented many troubled entertainers.

"It is no different defending these clients except a bit more pressure from fans. But in reality, it is the same work, same preparation and presentation of any case. I deal with all my cases on the same basis... star or no star," said Tavares-Finson.

Among them actress-singer Grace Jones, as well as singer Gregory Isaacs, deejay Big Youth and dancehall artistes Bounty Killer, Mavado, Sean Paul and Shabba Ranks.

"What I remember about the Grace Jones trial is the amount of international media attention it generated... CNN, every international news media was here," he said.

Jones, 37 at the time, was charged with possessing a small amount of cocaine in her handbag after a police raid on a Kingston mansion in April 1989. She was acquitted of the charges in January 1990.

Two years later, Tavares-Finson represented Grammy winner Shabba Ranks who was brought before the court to face an assault charge.

Bounty Killer and Mavado were acquitted of gun and shooting charges, respectively. Killer was freed in December 2012 while Mavado, who was arrested on July 2007, walked free.

Isaacs was another of his high-profile clients.

"I defended Gregory Isaacs, who was, at the time on a gun charge and then, on two separate cocaine charges," Tavares-Finson recalled.

Isaacs, a prolific lover's rock singer, died in October 2010.

Sean Paul retained Tavares-Finson in 2003, when he was charged with using profanity during a performance at Montego Bay's Reggae Sumfest that year.

He was charged $100 for that indiscretion.





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