Vybz Kartel tria, the ongest trial in Jamaican history,re-started yesterday after the week-end break, in the Home Circuit Court downtown Kingston Jamaica.
While yesterday defense attorney Taver Finson and Judge Campbell clashed about some corrections notes, before the jurors were ushered into the courtroom, when Kartel’s attorney asked the reason two notes were handed to the court registrar by the prosecution during his summation last week.
Today the high court judge presiding at Vybz Kartel’s murder trial has instructed jurors to examine whether the conduct of police support allegations by defense lawyers of fraud and corruption to seek convictions. Campbell told the 11-member jury to determine if Llamar Chow is a credible witness. He also said that they are allowed to reach a different verdict for each accused men.
Justice Lennox Campbell issued the charge to jurors as he reviewed the evidence from Digicel executive, Joseph Simmonds. Simmonds has testified in the trial that he had prepared a statement and two Compact Discs (CDs) containing call and text message records from 40 phone numbers. He said he had given the discs to the police, who made the request. It was also revealed that one of the discs that contained the original data extracted from the cell phones had gone missing.
The judge told the jurors that they have to determine if the missing disc is a part of the conspiracy argued by defense lawyers. He also told the jurors to examine whether the conduct of the police in handling the case supports the allegations by defense lawyers that there was corruption and fraud to secure the men’s conviction. Justice Campbell referred to the phone that was in the custody of the police and used by them to sent texts and other things while Kartel was already in custody. He reminded that the defense is arguing that the phone was compromised at different stages while in police custody. He told the jurors that they have to consider and examine carefully the complaints of the defense. The judge is now on his fourth day of summation.
The reason why Campbell instructed jurors to examine the evidence in the murder trial against entertainer Vybz Kartel and his four co-accused separately is so as not to summarily convict or acquit the men.With more than 60 days of the trial gone, the 11-member panel of jurors seemed at times jaded yesterday but after a late start due to the absence of one of them, Justice Campbell began to sum up the evidence.
VYBZ KARTEL NEW SINGLE – WE HAVE IT LOCK REMIX – SAM DIGGY PRODUCTION – MARCH 2014
“You are the sole judges of the facts in this case. It is not the judge’s verdict that is asked for, but yours and yours alone. Your verdict need not be the same for all. Review the evidence against all separately,” Justice Campbell said, as he continued his summation of the high-profile murder case in the High Court in downtown Kingston.
The judge yesterday spent considerable time summing up the evidence of the prosecution star witness who he reminded the jurors was the only eyewitness in the case. He told the jurors that the witness’ evidence had changed under cross-examination as it related to a light on a cellular phone, which he first told the court was constant but recanted to say it was flashing during cross-examination from defence attorney Pierre Rodgers.
He informed the jurors that eyewitness and voice identification evidence were very fragile and they had to consider a number of factors when considering the evidence in those two areas. ”I must, therefore, warn you to be very careful to convict anyone on eyewitness evidence. There have been wrongful convictions in the past,” he said.
He said the jury must consider the length of time the witness had to see, the kind of lighting available, distance, and how long the witness knew the accused men.”Voice identification poses the same type of danger. People sound like people. The danger is more acute,” Justice Campbell said. He also told the jurors that the only evidence entered against Shane Williams was a voice identification on a video, which was tendered into evidence by the prosecution.The judge also mentioned the witness’ testimony that he was invited to fly to Guyana with Kartel and Shawn Campbell to avoid being questioned and his refusal at one point to embark on the flight.
“He had never travelled overseas before with Mr Palmer so you may well ask yourselves why? Why that invitation?” he said.
Justice Campbell also spoke to claims by the defense that the star witness had concocted a story with the police to avoid a firearm-related charge.He said the first statement given to the police by the witness was done eight days after the alleged murder on August 16, 2011.”The question I ask myself, Madame foreman, and your members, is when that statement was given how would the police know? Eight days after the police gave the witness a statement and answer it? How did the police know that ‘Lizard’ would not be seen again?” he said.