The prosecution's case for lengthy sentences

BY KARYL WALKER Editor Crime/Court Desk

Friday, April 04, 2014

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IN seeking lengthy sentences for Vybz Kartel and his three co-accused in the recently concluded murder trial, the prosecution outlined 10 mitigating factors to the court.

The prosecution argued that in handing down his sentence Justice Lennox Campbell should think big and not have too much mercy on the convicts.

"On the evidence placed before the court it is submitted that there are no mitigating factors and he will have to rely on his character, that he is a father of young children and his standing in the entertainment community. In coming to an appropriate sentence the learned trial judge must ensure that he does not start at too low a starting point that, eg 15-20 years," the prosecution's submission stated.

The aggravating factors stated by the prosecution were:

* A significant degree of planning or premeditation;

* Mental/physical suffering inflicted on the victim before death;

* Abuse of a position of trust — Adidja Palmer was his [the victim's] leader ('Teacher', 'Worl Boss') and Shawn Campbell was his friend who had promised to 'buss him';

* Use of duress or threats against the deceased to facilitate commission of the offence (the threats in the voice notes);

* Concealment, destruction and dismemberment of body (body not found chop-up fine fine BBM);

* The cold-blooded and casual discussion of murder on
the video;

* The destruction of evidence — attempted arson and bulldozing of the house at 7 Swallowfield Avenue in Havendale;

* The attempts to get the witness Lamar Chow out of the country so that the police would not be able to question him;

* The suspicion that Palmer had of potential informers expressly Lamar Chow and Shawn Campbell;

* That the killing was not done in self-defence or in the defence of another or property. Neither was he provoked. It was done in furtherance of a lawless objective. To punish the deceased for the loss of two illegal guns; and

* Looking wider — Jamaica suffers from the twin and inter-related scourges of a high number of illegal guns in circulation which are used to commit crimes, and to strengthen and embolden gangs and secondly, the high rate of homicides, the great majority of which are committed by these said illegal firearms.

The prosecution also pointed to the case of Constable Rushon Hamilton, who was convicted of abducting 15-year-old Jhanelle Golbourne at her gate in Harbour View in East Kingston and shooting her before dumping her body at sea. He was given a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 35 years.

The case of Calvin Powell and Lennox Swaby, who were first sentenced to death for the murder of Richard and Julia Lyn in Mandeville but that sentence was quashed on appeal and substituted with life; Wayne Ricketts, who was sentenced to life with the possibility for parole after 25 years even though no body was found; Loretta Brissett, who was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole in 21 years for the murder of her spouse Franklyn Johnson; and Melody Baugh-Pellinen, who was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole after 21 years for murder, were cited by the prosecution as guidelines for the judge when he was handing down his sentence.

The prosecution also said that if Vybz Kartel is allowed to record songs while incarcerated it was the business of the Department of Correctional Services to make such an order, but advised against it on the grounds that Clive 'Lizard' Williams was not a saint.

"One must remember that the deceased actively locked illegal guns on behalf of the convict Palmer and that he was on bail for a firearms offence when he died. It would not do that benefits derived from the exercise of such talents go to the estate of the deceased," the submission stated.





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