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Prosecution rips into defence's argument of conspiracy to convict Kartel

Thursday, February 20, 2014    

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LEAD prosecutor Jeremy Taylor ripped into arguments put forth by defence attorney Tom Tavares-Finson that the police had hatched a conspiracy to convict his client Vybz Kartel, during his closing remarks in the murder trial at the Supreme Court yesterday.

Using quotes from the Bible, a former British parliamentarian and comparisons to a series of movies, Taylor painted a picture of an alleged plot by Vybz Kartel to kill Clive 'Lizard' Williams over two missing guns.

"There is no moral or ethical dilemma or crisis in this case. What you are required to do is weigh the evidence. Look at credibility and reliability. Do aspects of the case add up or is it a scattershot?" he told the 11-member panel of jurors.

Vybz Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, Shawn 'Storm' Campbell, Kahira Jones, Andre St John, and Shane Williams are jointly charged with 'Lizard's' alleged murder.

In telling the jurors that all the accused do not have to 'sink' with Vybz Kartel, Taylor poured cold water on the unsworn statement given by Vybz Kartel and his four co-accused even though he told the jurors they must consider it.

"It is not evidence. It is a lesser species than evidence but you must consider it. It is a right that they have. Evidence must be taken under oath," he said.

Taylor continued where he left off on Tuesday in asking for justice for Williams.

"How would you feel if a family member had been killed and the body not found? Would you not want an accounting? Would you not want an answer? Would you not want someone to say that is not right?" he said.

During the trial the prosecution displayed a damning BlackBerry message which was allegedly abstracted from a cellular phone ascribed to Vybz Kartel that said that Williams' body was chopped up like minced meat and would never be found.

Taylor used that message and also relied heavily on expletive-laced voice notes allegedly sent by Vybz Kartel, which spoke of the fate of individuals who had stolen the firearms.

Taylor said Lizard was killed to send a message to the entertainer's followers on what fate would befall them if they mishandled Vybz Kartel's guns.

"The finality of this was not a punishment. This was an abject message. You do not fool with Adidja Palmer's guns. I give you a ting fi lock, don't tell me foolishness. You really wonder why they didn't beat him up. Beat him up and take money from him. If they had beat him up none of us would be here, but it was decided that Clive Lloyd Williams had to die," he said.

At times during Taylor's presentation, Vybz Kartel looked jaded and defeated but laughed heartily when attorney representing André St John — Tamika Harris — whispered something in his ear when the court took an early-morning break. Co-accused Campbell, Jones and Williams also bore serious countenances as Taylor sought their conviction, while St John seemed indifferent, at times.

The panel of jurors appeared to show some interest in Taylor's argument, but only the forewoman was observed taking notes.

Taylor also questioned why it was Vybz Kartel's sister who had come to give character evidence on his behalf.

"The bond of blood creates loyalty within us. It is up to you to decide whether or not you can rely solely on the evidence of his sister. For all the gathering of Gaza, all the Gaza-ites or gazelles — I don't know what they call female members of Gaza — there was no one," Taylor told the jury.

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