Cops flood 'Downtown' as Kartel's trial nears end

Thursday, February 20, 2014    

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A large detachment of police was dispatched to downtown Kingston yesterday as closing arguments continued in the murder trial of entertainer Vybz Kartel and his four co-accused in the Supreme Court.

Armed with high-powered rifles, the cops cordoned off sections or South Parade, King, Orange, Church, and Barry streets as well as other less-traversed streets in the precincts of the court.

Members of the public had difficulty accessing the affected areas as security personnel refused entry to pedestrians and some motorists.

Cops were also posted at various points around the court building as well as on its roof.

On Tuesday evening, the police issued a release advising of the action and said it would last until Friday. The police, however, did not give a reason for the action.

Meanwhile, yesterday Vybz Kartel's attorney, Tom Tavares-Finson expressed his displeasure to Justice Lennox Campbell that relatives of his client and the other accused men were barred from entering the court.

This prompted Justice Campbell to summon a commandant from the Island Special Constabulary Force and informed him that Jamaican citizens have a right to attend court.

Tavares-Finson told the court minutes before the adjournment, and after the jurors had been excused, that he had been given the assurance by police superintendents Collin Pinnock and Michael Ellis that the situation would not recur and that yesterday's action was due to a breakdown in communication.

"Both superintendents indicated that such incidents won't happen again, and we don't expect it to," Finson said.

The action of the police also resulted in the early closure of some businesses on King Street as shoppers were barred from entering the area.

— Tashauna Taylor





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