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Defence wraps up address to jurors in Vybz Kartel trial

BY PAUL HENRY Co-ordinator -- Crime/Court Desk henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, February 27, 2014    

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THE Vybz Kartel murder trial yesterday moved a step closer to completion with attorney Tamika Harris wrapping up her address to jurors.

This cleared the way for Justice Lennox Campbell to summarise the four months of evidence for the jurors and inform them as to how the law should be applied to it in coming to their decision. This process is expected to start next week Thursday when the matter resumes in the Home Circuit Court.

Campbell wanted to start the process tomorrow, but was forced to postpone the matter to next Thursday owing to the unavailability of a member of the jury due to health reasons.

Yesterday, Harris — who represents Andre St John — had the jurors attention as she asked them to acquit her client and the other four accused.

"You cannot ignore what is rotten in this case," Harris said. "You cannot just wuk wid it. You cannot put on blinkers..."

Vybz Kartel, whose real name is Adijah Palmer; Shawn Campbell, popularly known as Shawn Storm; André St John; Shane Williams; and Kahira Jones, have been on trial since November 18 for the alleged murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams on August 16, 2011. He was allegedly killed at a house in Havendale, St Andrew, over the disappearance of two illegal guns.

Earlier in her address, Harris told the jurors that the police made up witness statements all the time and highlighted what she said were 20 critical questions that she believed the prosecution needed to address but failed to do so.

Among the questions — which she punctuated by stating, "We don't know" — are what was in Senior Superintendent Cornwall 'Bigga' Ford's notebook? Where is the control disc JS1?; How are we to verify JS2?; Who at the Flying Squad was using the phone seized from Vybz Kartel?; Who was using the said phone at Detective Sergeant Linton's office at the Cybercrime Unit?; Who made 'chop up' message since it was created three hours after the phone was in the custody of the police?; Who accessed the files on the phone?; Where are the original statements from the main witness?; Why did the prosecution use two handwriting experts and what did those experts say?; And how is it that the witness wasn't charged with illegal possession of a firearm when he said he had a gun on the night when Clive 'Lizard' Williams was alleged to have been murdered.

Harris questioned why the prosecution didn't ask Williams' girlfriend, who testified in the case, to verify texts it said were sent between her and Williams. "Why was [she] going to Rat Town [to look for Williams] if text tells her he was on his way to Havendale? Harris asked. "How [is it that she] is unaware of the situation if she received text message saying exactly what the situation was?"

She ripped into the prosecution's allegations against her client — which included that he was holding a cinder block; that he opened a gate; that he was inside the Havendale house. She addressed the allegations against her client one by one as she sought to pick apart the prosecution's case against him. She repeatedly called the witness a liar, while pointing to myriad discrepancies in his evidence.

"Mr [name withheld] is not a witness you can believe," Harris told the jurors.

On another note, Harris told the jurors that it was unfair for the prosecution to ask them to be sure about evidence their own witnesses themselves weren't certain of.

"This is not about guessing and spelling...," Harris said. "You must feel sure and you must as a matter of fact find these men not guilty."

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