Western lawyers, artistes dive into Kartel case

By MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large Western Bureau

Sunday, March 16, 2014    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James - Prominent Montego Bay attorney Nathan Robb has said that the outcome of the Vybz Kartel trial represents a significant milestone in the annals of the country's justice system.

"It (trial) reflects the fact that a jury of ordinary peers, properly directed, can consider all the facts and come to a verdict despite what might appear to be the complexity of some evidence of the trail," said Robb, who is also the president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Last Thursday, entertainer Kartel, who real name is Adidja Palmer, and three of his four co-accused were guilty of the murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams in the Home Circuit Court. Williams was reportedly beaten to death at Kartel's Havendale home in St Andrew in August 2011, over missing guns allegedly belonging to Kartel.

They will be sentenced on March 27 by Justice Lennox Campbell who presided over the roughly seven week-long trial, during which a slew of digital forensic evidence was presented.

Yesterday, Robb argued that the electronic evidence that was presented during the trail is relatively new at trials in Jamaica, certainly at that scale, noting that the length of the trial also added to the complexity of the case.

"So all of this does say quite a lot about the ability of our people to sit on a jury," emphasised Robb, who has been an attorney-at-law for more than 30 years.

He also lauded the prosecution, which he said, "obviously did a lot of work to put the process together."

"So the system worked with a prosecutor, a defender, a judge and a jury, but I believe the real victory is that the system really works and we have to accept that," he stressed.

"The jury has spoken and that is the verdict, so we have to live with it, until the system of justice deals with it otherwise, if there is infact going to be an appeal. But right now, for me the system might be slow but this is confirmation that the system really works."

Attorney Lambert Johnson believes that proper procedure was followed during the matter, and that Kartel and his co-accused were given a fair trial.

"I believe in proper procedure being followed and from all accounts that I have seen and read, the judge managed the process quite well and ensured that there was a fair umpire between the prosecution and the defence, and so at the end of the day we have to accept the outcome," he argued.

Johnson, who has been in private practice for the past six years, after serving as an assistant clerk of court in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court, and who later worked in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, added that even if mistakes were made during the trial "there is a process of appeal which can correct those errors."

And attorney Charles Sinclair (Jnr) declined to comment on the matter.

"I really won't comment on it. I was never at the court. The court went on for approximately eight hours per day and all we got were snippets in a news report, so I will never be able to comment on it," said Sinclair, who is a former mayor of Montego Bay.

Meanwhile, Negril-based cabaret singer and recording artiste

Shandy Man said that Kartel's incarceration is a massive blow to the dancehall.

"Kartel is undoubtedly one of the brightest sparks in the industry. His absence from the scene for over two years is being felt, and now his thousands of fans locally and internationally who were looking forward to his freedom, will miss him immensely," he argued.

And Mackie Conscious, another western Jamaica-based recording artiste, who described Kartel as "the most talented Jamaican artiste at this time," said if the artiste is innocent of murder he must be freed.

"I believe Kartel is the most talented Jamaican artiste at this time. He has made a difference to the dancehall business, he is one of the better song writers and is full of melodies and style," Makie Conscious argued, adding that Kartel "has created a great impact on dancehall and a great influence on today's generation, as it relates to music





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