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'We are not far from the end'

Judge signals Kartel trial could conclude next week

BY KARYL WALKER Editor — Crime/Court Desk walkerk@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, February 12, 2014    

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JUSTICE Lennox Campbell is expected to hand down his ruling on five no-case submissions filed by attorneys representing Vybz Kartel and his four co-accused today in the High Court in downtown Kingston.

After two days of submission and rebuttals by lead prosecutor Jeremy Taylor, the jury will again be allowed to enter the courtroom and begin hearing testimony from witnesses who will be called by the defence.

Yesterday, Justice Campbell informed the jurors, when the court resumed for the afternoon sitting, that their services would no longer be needed until this morning.

He continued his warning that they were not to discuss the case with anyone and, to their obvious relief, said that by next week they would be called upon to deliberate and produce their verdict.

"Some time next week the case will be handed over to you. We are not far from the end. Perhaps it is best to say we are at the beginning of the end," Justice Campbell said.

Last week, one of the jurors was given permission to excuse herself due to what Justice Campbell described as personal problems.

The case has lasted for 48 days and is one of the longest-running murder trials in the legal history of Jamaica.

Vybz Kartel, Shawn 'Shawn Storm' Campbell, Andre St John, Kahira Jones, and Shane Williams have been accused by the police of killing of Clive 'Lizard' Williams at a house at Swallowfield Avenue in Havendale, St Andrew, on the evening of August 16, 2011.

Police alleged that 'Lizard' and the Crown's star witness were lured to the house to account for two illegal guns that were placed in their care and went missing.

'Lizard' was allegedly killed, but the Crown witness managed to escape and has been giving damning evidence against the accused men.

The court has heard evidence from forensic experts, police cybercrime experts, a crime scene investigator, several senior policemen and a sister of the deceased man.

A video, voice notes extracted from a cellphone said to have been used by Vybz Kartel, texts and BlackBerry messages were also played and displayed in open court.

The five accused men have been in custody for more than two years.

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