News

Kartel's court show put off again

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

Thursday, October 06, 2011    

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FOR a second consecutive day, an expected preliminary court appearance for entertainer Vybz Kartel was put off, angering lead attorney Tom Tavares-Finson who levied criticism against the police for what he said was bungling on their part.

Kartel was arrested last week Friday at a hotel in New Kingston and charged on Monday evening with murder, conspiracy to murder and illegal possession of a firearm.

The police subsequently said that Kartel would make his first appearance in the Gun Court Division of the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

But the day came and went without Kartel appearing because the matter was not listed on the court sheet. It was then announced that the artiste would instead appear yesterday.

However, the blunder continued.

Yesterday, the DJ whose real name is Adidjah Palmer, was transported to court but was never brought before a magistrate because the matter had still not been listed to be heard.

The blunder, said Tavares-Finson, lies with the police. According to the senior lawyer, the police did not submit the case file to the court's office in time for the matter to be heard yesterday. Tavares-Finson said that he was informed that only a "skeleton" file, was submitted on Tuesday afternoon.

"My client was brought here from the remand centre at great expense to the state. Somebody did not do their homework and it's a colossal waste of time on all account and frustration to my client who wishes to have this matter dealt with urgently," Tavares-Finson told reporters outside court.

"You must understand that he is an international artiste. He has contractual obligations both here and abroad and while he's being held in custody, those matters are being held in abeyance," added the attorney.

Tavares-Finson also used the opportunity to ask for patience on the part of those with whom the artiste is doing business, asking them not to "rush to judgement".

The attorney's plea came on the heel of news on Tuesday that telecommunications service provider LIME had discontinued broadcast on its Mobile TV of Kartel's reality series Teacha's Pet, which premiered two Fridays ago. In its announcement, LIME cited the seriousness of the charges against the controversial artiste.

Yesterday, a handcuffed Kartel, decked in a purple suit, was transported to court. The vehicle in which he was transported was greeted by a throng of supporters who had camped out at the Half-Way- Tree Police Station, along Maxfield Avenue.

The supporters, some of them women carrying posters and pictures of the deejay, offered words of encouragement as Kartel was being taken back to jail.

"Free the teacha!" some chanted, as the artiste flashed a weak-looking smile.

"Free up the boss; free up the general. The man no do nutten!" said one woman who was among the group.

Kartel has been charged in connection with the July murder of Barrington 'Bossie' Burton, a 27-year-old businessman/promoter of a Gregory Park address in St Catherine. Burton was murdered while standing with friends along Walker's Avenue in Gregory Park.

Notwithstanding the nature of the charges, Kartel is said by Tavares-Finson to be confident that his name will be cleared at the appropriate time.

"He is confident in his representation and confident in his position that in short order he'll be on the road where he belongs so he can continue to pursue his career," Tavares-Finson said yesterday, while adding that his client was doing "fine".

It was still not clear yesterday when Kartel, who is also being represented by Chris Tavares-Finson and Michael Deans, will face the court.

— Additional reporting by Kimmo Matthews

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