Part 3 – judge’s summing up-#KartelMurderTrial

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The afternoon session meanders. As the time slowly ticks by it appears the presiding judge in the trial of Vybz Kartel and his four co-accused may be overcome by either the length of the trial or something unknown. As he sums up to the eleven member jury, the summing up lacks structure and form. 

These are my verbatim notes. When I wish to include a note to better explain what is happening in the courtroom, my comments are bracketed.

The evidence of Onika Jackson.
She gave her age as 26. She says she was living together with Clive Lizard Williams for about 3/4 years. She knows he was called Lizard. He had no children. He was a part time worker at NWC where he laid pipes. The important part of her testimony is that she had not heard from Clive Williams from August 16, 2011. She hadn’t heard from him since. And it is important that on that date they were texting.

August 16, 2011 ( the judge never says two thousand eleven or twenty eleven but two zeerio one one) when she was leaving for work he was still asleep. He had to report to Waterford Police Station as he had a gun charge against him.

She said her cell number was 3824835 and his number was 5710021 and those are important because among text messages put into evidence by the prosecution is a series of text from those numbers. She said she had that number for about a year and no one else used it.
Her last text message was about 7:26 PM on the 16th.

She went on to say she knows his friends. She knew Wee and Shawn Storm to talk to and in fact she said she knew Shawn before Clive. Storm is stage name for Campbell.

In identifying Shawn, she said he worked with JUTC then he got a job as DJ. She knew Clive Lizard Williams’ family. She says he had sisters and two brothers. She knew Nadine is also Stephanie Brackenridge.

She said she is familiar with members of Portmore empire otherwise called Gaza family. They go to stage show and perform. Vybz Kartel, Storm, Black Rhino, Chin and some other associates.
(Judge pronounces Black Rhino – Black Reeno- to some laughter in court by those more familiar with the name)
Judge continues almost oblivious to the courtroom chuckle.

She mentions persons by name- Gaza Slim – that name you will recall from the  evidence of Superintendent Thompson to the effect that he received a report on October 29, two zeerio one one.
( judge again emphasizes the H in Thompson)

He received certain reports regarding an alleged case of robbery against Vanessa Saddler otherwise known as Gaza Slim and a suspect Clive Williams was named.

So this person who she identified as part of Gaza family made a report on October 29 that Clive Williams had held her up with a firearm. The important point is the that the officer says he gave instructions for investigations to be conducted and to collect statements from relatives of Clive Williams. Statements were recovered and he having received reports, he continued to look for the body of Clive Williams.

You didn’t hear anything further of this person – a member of the Gaza tribe about any robbery that Lizard would have been involved in subsequent to the 16th of August.

Miss Jackson further mentioned persons she knew. She said she knew VYbz Kartel as Teacha or Daddy. She knew him about a year before. She is 26 and Kartel, Mr. Palmer is 38 years old.

She said they would go to stage show. Up to August, (two zeerio one one) 2011. He laid pipes up to April of that year. Whenever permanent workers were unavailable, he would fill in.

Regarding August 16, she says they communicated by text messages. She was not allowed to use phone at work and she was in communication with Lizzie. But not only …you can well imagine she is 26 yrs old and she said they would communicate everyday and she never communicate with anyone else on the phone attributed to Lizard- 5710021.

She said ‘we would text everyday’. When she got home, he was not there. It’s not unusual for him not to be at home. She went to Rat Town, made inquiries of friends and received no information. No clothing of his was taken. They were all there. She said she was calling his phone again and got voice mail.

She said she never received any communication from him after the 16. She said that was unusual as they had a stable relationship. Despite communication from her through the night, there was no response. This is one of the circumstances the prosecution is putting to you saying he was dead. This lady he lived with and used to communicate everyday with and comes the 16 and no further word.

The Prosecution says when you put it in context of text messages he was sending during course of day, it strengthens, provides evidence of the death of Clive Williams because during course of the day Madam Foreman and  Your Members, ( judge flips through his notes here as if he as lost his train of thoughts. The courtroom waits and the judge then continues)… let me remind you what she said about the text

She told us about him not taking anything at all with him. You may wonder- if he’s going somewhere whether it is reasonable that he would come to retrieve some of his clothing. He took absolutely nothing from the room he shared with his girlfriend.  That room was owned by the accused Palmer.

She told us of efforts through the night to make contact with him which did not succeed. She says she last saw him August 16.
She was asked about Sunday, the 14 because Wee and his friend having received  some information were scared and frightened. The very next witness will say the condition.

His girlfriend says he was a bit worried from night before. She says normally he would go on the ends and that night he stayed in and he was not sick. She said she had not seen him back since the night. She spoke to Inspector Thomas and gave a statement and continued to make calls.

She was cross examined by Mr. Finson and she said she knew Stephanie Brackenridge. She says she spoke with his brother in law and confirmed that he was reporting at Waterford Police Station. The significance of this is that he may very well have absconded bail. She said there were occasions when she went to look at dead bodies. Remember DSP Thompson said she took her and Mrs. Brackenridge several times with a view to locating body of Clive Williams.

She was also cross examined by Mr. Lorne. She said she gave several statements to the Police. One was given on September 6. She describes Mr Campbell as a good friend of Clive Williams. She describes Mr. Campbell as a good friend of Clive Williams
( I am not sure why the judge repeated the last sentence. Was it for emphasis or catching his thoughts)
She knows that he worked at JUTC. This line says they are very good friends so why would he put him in harm’s way as the prosecution is contending.

The Prosecution says Storm is total betrayal as he took both men to Havendale knowing what the plan was that Palmer had instituted. So it’s a matter for you. On one hand the girlfriend says they were good friends. I had good relationship with Mr. Campbell in witness box.

Next witness
Stephanie Brackenridge.
Regarding the text messages Madam Foreman and your members, I will deal with those at a later time.

(Judge knocks his bench in an attempt to beckon to the registrar who sits immediately in front of his but lower down so that the judge cannot see him.  Knocking the bench is how the judge gets the registrar’s attention. The knock fails and the judge calls out for the Registrar. The registrar’s seat is empty.  The judge says he needs the list of text messages. It’s 2:40PM – there’s a brief pause then judge continues without the registrar)

The – I told you that Miss Jackson indicated they were texting each other through the day on the 16.
6:53PM message to Oneika – ‘baby, Teacha sen call me’ – prosecution says this is the summons.
Teacha as you very well think – the Witness says she calls the accused Palmer, Teacha. What she says is -‘What are you going to do babes’

Tom Tavares Finson rises with a quizzical look on his face and addresses the judge
Finson – ‘ my Lord, sorry to interrupt but – none of those were put the witness’
Judge – (says irritably) ‘Mr. Finson’

(Interruptions by attorney of a judge’s summing up are rear and should be done sparingly. Lawyers do so if and only if the judge is misquoting the evidence.Tavares Finson sits and the judge then justifies his use of text messages not put to the witness Onika Jackosn)

You recall that 3824835 was her number and her boyfriend’s was 5710021 and she’s known him to have that phone for about a year. The text I am reading to you is from the number she claims is her number to the number of her boyfriend, Clive Williams ( judge repeats the content of the text message)

6:50 he says ‘I am really scared baby pls call the police you have to save me’.

Now when you sit there use your common sense – one of the instruments you are supposed to use. Is this something he is making up or the urgency of the situation is forcing him to tell truth as it is unfolding.

Message from Onika is asking ‘just you alone’
Clive Williams says – ‘please call police for me. You have to do it now’

What does he consider to be so urgent. But you have to remember this man is no saint. He has been charged. He’s reporting to police. He has been with this family for some time. He lost a gun and this is his reaction. This is what he anticipates is going to happen.

‘Tell dem Vybz Kartel ago kill me pls Baby’.

Look at what is unfolding and ask is he making it up or is the stress of the situation bringing that out- because he knows the family. He knows what happens in those  situations

7:09 – ‘you haffi hurry up’
7:11 – ‘Shawn can’t save we. We in Needfa car a go up there’

The Shawn mentioned in the text, is this the accused Campbell? You recall evidence before you that this is a taxi that Campbell uses. This trip Campbell was in front and Chow and Clive Williams are in the back. Also recall Chow says whilst he was in Needfa car, he saw Lizard texting on his phone. His girlfriend’s response after he says ‘tell Nadine to call police and Ridge fast fast’. Ridge is the husband of his sister.

 So even beyond his girlfriend he’s extending call for help to his relatives.
7:16 – baby please call me now a Havendale. Pls pls tell dem fi look fi Neefa car
7:18 – mi deh a Red Hills road a go up
7:18 from Onika to Clive Williams – ok baby I am praying for you
7:26 – I can’t concentrate right now. Just be cool and call to G. (Name given by witness to Palmer)
7:28 Clive Williams says please hurry up we soon reach babes
7:37 Onika says – baby I am shaking so bad I am nervous. Geof just catch me on my phone but I don’t care although him going to kill me.

There were no other messages recorded from Mr. Williams.

As I told you, it is for you to decide what these messages mean and to ensure the witnesses weren’t mistaken in what they said. Also you must be certain that Clive Williams did not concoct these messages.

You heard the Defence case that evidence was concocted and motivated by ill will or malice and certain actions of police are product of conspiracy. Bear that in mind as you look at these text messages from Clive Williams being driven in Needfa car where Chow said they were pressured to go.

What did he mean by ‘tell dem say Vybz Kartel a go kill me’
Vybz Kartel was someone he knew before. This is someone who had to report to police and here is is pleading for relatives to get police. It is for you to say whether  they are consistent with the prosecution case that Clive Williams is dead.

The next witness I will look at is Stephanie Bradckenridge – sister of Clive Williams.
In August Two zeerio one one (2011) she was living in St Catherine, Waterford. She is also called Nadine. She lives with younger siblings her children and husband Samuel otherwise called Ridge. Clive is a younger brother.

She recalls Sunday August 14, 2011 as the last night she saw Clive. He lived with his girlfriend Onika who had a daughter which is not Lizard’s. She says he worked at NWC. She knows Lamar Chow.  Shawn Storm and he was friend with Kartel. She also knew Shawn Williams.

This is the sister of Clive Williams. She said she knew Shawn Williams. If he and Clive Williams were up and about together could he

(Prosecutor Taylor rises as the judge is once again in need of correction)
Taylor – excuse me My lord, is Shawn Campbell and not Williams.

Judge – ahhhmmm….what is your note last note there Mr. Palmer asks the judge of the learned senior deputy director of public prosecutions whose name is Jeremy TAYLOR.

(Needless to say, the courtroom chuckles – jurors are seen laughing almost in amazement.  The judge continues seamlessly)

Learned senior deputy is right. There are…( inaudible)

She is reciting friends she knows. Says he works at NWC. She knows Lamar Chow otherwise called Wee and he was friends with Palmer otherwise called Kartel. She would see Storm and Palmer from time to time. She told you that she saw a music video in which Storm was there. Lizard was portrayed as one of the guys on the corner. I think it was portrayed to show familiarly.

She said Clive Williams danced a lot and that is how he got the nickname.
You recall her reaction. She broke down. I told you before, you cannot be swayed by sentiments.

Lizard would visit her house and take care of younger siblings and she would see him often as he lived close by and they talk often. The prosecution says here’s a man who had good relation with his sister-  Not a lot of quarrel. In those circumstances would you expect that he would abscond and make no contact with her?

She says she spoke with him by telephone 5710021. She supports Onika regrading the number.

She last saw him between 1-2 in afternoon August 14. She was in the bathroom when he came. She heard a loud commotion and banging on the door. She was frightened. Saw Clive Williams and he crunched down by a sofa – white and sweating like they were seeing ghosts.
That was on the 14.

You heard the text to those. Does it support what is in the text. The fact that on the 16 were these messages to his girlfriend soliciting her help. On 14 August this is what his sister is recounting. She sees the men in her house. She says they were falling down like their knees could not hold up. Did that happen or was she making it up.

You saw her. Was she evasive or trying to deceive when she recounted what she saw in the living room of her house. She said they looked frightened and scared. Now the context that this frighten and scare has to be placed in are some voice notes – I will play for you tomorrow of the accused Palmer and what he said in relation to the person who lose the gun.

Remember I gave you an order starting with the plan. What Palmer said would happen. The Defence says the police force conspired against all of them. This is a canon piracy. I don’t know if it extends as far as the honorable Minister Peter Bunting but he is certainly one of the persons whose names was called. There is no denying that the voice is the voice of a Palmer but the voice has been spliced and interwoven. That is the context that the sis of Clive Williams is testifying about. Is she trying to deceive you, is she evasive or is she part of the concoction. That’s a matter for you.

She says after she saw them in the house she gave them instructions and drove them to the mall and returned home. She left them there and that was the last time I had seen him. She spoke to him after- On the 16, Tuesday morning. She called him on the phone. She didn’t speak to him again. She made efforts Tuesday night but got voice mail – Several Several times.

She went to the Police Station to report him missing. It was not normal for him not to make contact up to that point (repeat). The Prosecution says this is another instance that points in one direction and one direction only that Clive Williams is dead.

On way to the police station she was still making efforts to call. Shawn lives a few feet away. There is a studio in the area and they would come. She doesn’t know where Shawn and the others lived. She just see them together. She doesn’t know where Kiro lived. Up to August 2011 she had lived there about 10 yrs.

She was cross examined longer than Onika. Mr Finson asked about the incident on 14. She said that when she took them to the mall, her intention was for them to leave Waterford. She was not aware they were still in Waterford. They returned according to the evidence of Chow. Asked by Mr. Finson about the other side of her brother, she said she knew he was charged with illegal possession of firearm. He was also charged with possession of and shooting with intend. She said she was aware.

On the 18 she gave police a statement. She was asked about the contents and whether she mentioned the events she told the court about. Police came and took another statement. She gave the first statement a week after her brother went missing at police headquarters. She doesn’t recall where or to whom.

Mr Lorne also cross examined her and his direction was that in fact her brother and Campbell were close. She admitted that Shawn encouraged him to take out a passport. Shawn wanted to make him into bigger act than he was.
This would cause you to ask why would Shawn Campbell having taken efforts to get passport for him, why then deliver them as the Crown is saying knowing that they were going to be seriously injured.

She said she got instructions from brother and as a result she left the community.  Said she didn’t mention that she was afraid in the statement to Waterford police. She had instructed her brother to leave the community and gave him $3000 to do so.

The next witness is Constable Avril Thomas
She is a Forensic Crime Scene Investigator. She received training in 2005 and has been working as a crime scene investigator since 2005.

(Constable Avril Thompson is not a woman. He appeared in court as a man. No sex change or gender re-alignment surgery has been reported since)

August 22 at about 11 while on duty at the task force office she received instructions from her supervisor. She set off with a digital camera and other equipment – took pictures of the area. She noticed on arrival that there was a house with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen and car port – started investigation. She made sketches of the scene and made several observations.

She gave a description of the property – estimated height of wall and gate -that was  given as 8 ft. She entered the yard and on entering noted trees. She walked around the yard and made several observations. The gate was closed and it is gate you cannot see through. It is a gate that slides. She entered the carport through a grill work and noticed that floors had been wiped.

There is a verandah attached to the carport which was also wiped clean. The horizontal walls of house were also wiped. The Prosecution leading this is saying this is another chain in the circumstances that leads to one conclusion and one conclusion only. In this house where several things were noted – Some of rooms described as being in a dirty condition but certain areas wiped clean. You may ask what was the purpose of the that. Why were walls and flooring wiped clean.

Small dry spots on the inside that resembled blood were observed.
The living room – floor was wiped and painted and appeared to be empty.
There was a small white fridge and a microwave with shelves. Chow says he was aware that 2 persons live there. None of the accused say they live there. Chow says Andre st John and Shane Williams lives there.

Shane Williams says he doesn’t live there and he’s not known as Terrence.

There was a a small standing bathroom that was in a very dirty condition. It begs the question if the bathroom is so dirty how comes this cleanliness regarding the floor.

(The registrar slips a note to the judge)

Madam Foreman and your members, I am still on the evidence of this investigator.

(Perhaps the note to the judge by the registrar caused the judge to end making reference to Avril Thomas as ‘she’ and ‘her’ and to ‘this investigator’)

(It’s 3:30PM. Court sessions normally ends at 4PM or thereabouts. Presiding Judge Lennox Campbell adjourns the sitting at 3:30 with his usual word to the jurors)

All that remains is my summation to continue. Please do not discuss this case with anyone outside your numbers. Please step down.

(More to come)

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Judge’s summing up – Part 2 – #KartelMurderTrial

Court resumes from it mid morning break. Justice Lennox Campbell continues his summing up the jury to a packed courtroom. Here are my verbatim notes


Madam foreman and your members, I will pick up here -

Note that a forensic fire expert Miss Sharon Brydson has testified that in her view a fire at Mr. Palmer’s house was deliberately set.
Also note that the defence put before you that the letter written on Nov 13, 2013 was written by Clive Lizard Williams.

(Here the judge misquotes the evidence prompting the prosecutor Jeremy Taylor to rise)

Taylor: My Lord the evidence is that it was Mr. Chow’s handwriting.
(Defence attorney Tom Tavares Finson chimes in in a sotto voce remark to Taylor)
Tavares Finson: you a interrupt di Judge now? Ok!

(Justice Campbell corrects himself in what will be one of a couple mistakes well in his summing up. Some of the jurors find this hilarious and laugh heartily)

Justice Campbell continues.
Yes it was written by Chow. The letter is to be considered circumstantial. Note that circumstantial evidence can be used to mislead also it is said such evidence can be considered the best evidence.

The next thing the prosecution must prove is that it is the accused men who killed Clive Lizard Williams. What the prosecution has said is that the men were acting together. You note the texts where he said Mr. Palmer was upset about the missing shoes. In voice note 2 he said ‘if dem want dem fren fi live dem fi return mi shoes’. As I indicated he was accorded tremendous amount of respect among the grouping.

It is clear that Mr. Palmer passes messages through Mr. Chow and Mr. Campbell. And that he has some authority. That he determines where the shoes will go and how the miscreants should be disciplined. We will look at voicenote 7 where he said he wanted Mad Dawg to page somebody because a Mad Dawg a govern di programme. You will have to determine what those words mean.

On the Prosecution’s case Kiro Jones held Lizard from behind and St. John was seen with a building block. Note that video was shown by the prosecution where later that night men were heard planning to kill.

What is the defence’s case?

Mr. Palmer has said he has never seen Lizard at Swallowfield Avenue and that he’s innocent. St. John has said he’s only here because he’s associated with Mr. Palmer. He does not know of any block or plot or plan. Shawn Campbell has said he’s not aware of any plan, Shane Williams has said he does not even know why he is here while Kahira Jones has said Chow and the Police plan up to bring down Kartel and his friends.

Mr. Palmer has NOT denied that the voice in the voice note is not his.

Madam foreman and your members – If looking at the case you hear that someone was present and intended to commit the offence or if they took part then by their mere presence and they were close enough and facilitated the act then they should be found guilty.

Regarding the discrepancies in time pointed out by the defence – (finger fail here)

Madam foreman and your members -note that in most criminal trials it is always possible to find variations in a witnesses testimony. It may be slight and it may be serious. If it is slight it does not affect the credibility of the witness.


It is now 1PM. The court proceedings did not get off on time this morning- but this is not unusual. 10AM is the official start time for court. Here the time is more honoured in the breach. The court breaks now for lunch for one hour. The judge is to continue at 2PM – after lunch. Part 3 then.

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Judge’s summing up – #KartelMurderTrial

Madam foreman and your members you have heard all the evidence in this case since November.

You have heard 24 witnesses for the prosecution and in my estimation four for the defence.

We have had frequent adjournments. You have heard 6 closing addresses from Counsel at the bar.

It is now my duty to sum up the evidence to tell you what the law is and assist you in coming to your verdict.

Madam foreman and your members you will recall at the beginning of these proceedings you all took an oath, some took an affirmation – and remember that is of great significance. It should not be treated lightly.

Madam foreman and your members you should not let your verdict be affected by extraneous or external circumstances. Recall the trial was widely covered by the media. I cannot assume that you all were insulated from all the coverage. But recall your oath and remember that because of that oath you cannot take into consideration external matters.

A great Roman jurist once said justice is a great and constant purpose that should give each and every man his due. I urge upon you Madam Foreman and your members that you should be devoted to doing justice according to law, nothing else.

The accused are before this Court charged on an indictment for one count. They are charged as Adidja Palmer, Calvin ..o he’s no longer here, Shawn Campbell, Kahira Jones, Shane Williams, and Aundre St. John ..accused of murder. They are accused of murdering Clive Williams.

Let me just put in a nutshell the two cases.

The prosecution’s case is that two guns, or as they call it shoes, were given to Llamar Chow and Clive Williams to hide or to lock. The prosecution have led evidence suggesting that Palmer instituted a deadline for the return of the guns that had gone missing. On the 16th of August, Shawn Campbell pressured Clive Williams and Chow to the registered home of Palmer. The other accused men were at home when Chow and Williams arrived. Williams was attacked, Chow ran and when he returned he saw Williams’ lifeless body. Chow fled the yard but was pursued by Palmer. Palmer re-assured Chow that he had nothing to worry about. Chow then followed Palmer to the hospital. Chow was invited to follow Palmer to Guyana in order to avoid questioning by law enforcement. An odour smelling like a dead animal was subsequently detected at Mr. Palmer’s Havendale home.

No one has seen or heard from Clive Lizard Williams since the day he was seen by Chow lying motionless on his back. The Prosecution says there is strong electronic evidence pointing to the guilt of the accused.

That is the prosecutions case.

The defence are saying that the men are not guilty of murdering Williams if in fact he’s dead. In fact there is a letter from Chow saying Williams was seen alive after August 16, 2010. That Williams never went to Palmer’s home but in fact departed the motor vehicle at a hotel in Havendale. That mobile data produced by the prosecution placed the accused at a separate location when the crime was said to have taken place.

They, the defence have alleged a conspiracy on the part of the Police to implicate Palmer. Tthey have alleged that Palmer’s case was prejudiced by the National Security Minister who blamed him for crimes in Jamaica. The defence have said Chow was part of a concoction.

The main issue for you jurors is to determine if Clive Lizard Williams is dead. If the answer is he is not or you are not sure then that’s the end of the matter you must acquit, because the prosecution have not been able to find a central piece of the indictment. Because in most of the cases before the Courts the prosecution are required to state a cause of death and lead evidence detailing a body being put into the earth. That has not been done by the prosecution. No evidence has been led stating that the dead body of Williams was seen.

However as you may be aware not all cases is it possible to bring such evidence. The fact of death may be proved by what is called circumstantial evidence. That is madam foreman and your members evidence that leads to one conclusion and one only. And before you can draw a conclusion that Clive Lizard Williams is dead all the evidence provided by the prosecution must lead to one conclusion – that Clive Williams is dead.

In the absence of a body death can be proved by circumstantial evidence that renders the conclusion of death. The evidence must be so cogent and compelling and above reasonable doubt that it leads to the conclusion that Lizard Williams is dead. If you have any doubt about him being dead, then you must acquit.

Recall there is a letter that an expert said was written by Mr. Llamar Chow. We are going to be looking very closely at that. Recall that the evidence states that the author of that letter said Williams was seen alive after August 16, 2010. Note that the prosecution are saying Clive Williams died a year after that.

If you are sure Williams is dead, you must then be sure that the evidence points in one direction – that the accused men killed Clive Williams. And I tell you madam foreman and your members, in a matter such as this persons may play different parts in an alleged murder but if they are found to have been part of one common purpose, that is to kill, they should be held accountable for the murder.

When you hear about a Common Design, there needs be no formality. Such a plan may be inferred, it could be spur of the moment that can constitute a plan, no official agreement is necessary. To find all guilty you have to be convinced that all played some party, whether large or small, in a plan which had one intent, to kill.

I must tell you Madam foreman and your members you and I are Judges who try this case. I should tell you we have slightly separate functions though and we should not usurp and take over each others functions. It is my duty to interpret the law. You cannot say ‘bwoi my fren di lawyer seems like him know di law better than this Judge’. I am considered supreme regarding interpretation of the law here and you must take that interpretation from me.

In the same way I am supreme regarding the law, you are considered supreme considering the facts. If you think I wrongly stated the facts according to what you hear, I  think it is Miss Harris who said you can toss it aside (* Judge Campbell has a wry grin hee*) ..she is correct, if I incorrectly stated the facts you can toss it aside.

You have seen the witnesses, you have heard them, you have observed them, it is for you madam foreman and your members to make up your minds regarding what you make of them, whether they spoke the truth. However you are not entitled to abandon the evidence and come up with a theory and make up a theory not based on the evidence and make a decision in that regard. Your supremacy concerning the facts, does not entitle you to make up a theory. You are bound by the evidence alone, you must not allow yourself to be taken unto a path of speculation.

Look at the evidence, look to the evidence alone, not some speculation, not some conjecture. The evidence must be your yardstick by which you Judge this case. You must analyze the witnesses and by witnesses I mean those called by the prosecution and defence. You madam foreman and your members must not allow sympathy to determine your verdict. You must approach the evidence calmly and dispassionately. You cannot have sympathy for Williams or the accused and to ground your verdict on that basis. That would be improper.

You live in a society that is violent from Negril point to Morant Point. And because these men are charged with a violent crime you cannot use the fact of the society we exist in against them. You cannot use the fact that guns are mentioned in this case to prejudice this case and be the basis where you formulate your verdict. I cannot implore you more strongly to not allow feelings of sympathy to influence your verdict. There is no basis in law for a verdict to be influenced by sympathy.

In this case you heard mention of the tragic death of a girlfriend, of a child that needs taking case of, you may recall the tears of Mr. Clive Williams’ sister. Do not let that influence you. You heard mention of guns being given for being locked. Do not use that to arrive at a verdict. Their morals are not on trial. You are not to use that as a basis to determine that the accused are responsible for crime in Jamaica. You must look at the totality of the evidence related to – were they responsible for taking Clive Lizard Williams’ life.

You are entitled madam foreman and your members to take into consideration the demeanor of the witnesses. You may bear in mind how they acted. Particularly under cross examination. You may take into account the relationship between witnesses and their intelligence. In regard to this using common sense and your knowledge of Jamaicans you will eventually be required to come to a finding whether you regard the witnesses as witnesses of truth.

Madam foreman and your members you are well equipped to come to a verdict. You don’t need to be dressed up in a lawyers garb. Don’t say because you are acting as judges here you are to discard your common sense. That’s the most important ingredient here.

I must remind you of two principles in law.

1  – being an accused man is innocent until prove guilty and it is the responsibility of the prosecution to prove guilt. An accused man does not have to prove his evidence.

ON the prosecution’s case madam foreman and your members – there was a common design. They have outlined using voice notes and messages that Mr. Adidja Palmer was upset because two of his guns had gone missing. You heard a voicenote saying – ‘im an im mumma ago ded’ (Judge Campbell mimicks voicenotes).

Secondly the prosecution are saying that Shawn Campbell knew what would transpire by virtue of a text message he sent saying people ago dead. Recall that Campbell on the prosecution’s case had persuaded Mr. Chow and Mr. Williams to Kartel’s home.

Recall Mr. Chow’s evidence that when they, he and Lizard arrived at Kartel’s home. ( *JPS cuts power supply here ..mic stops working ..Judge Campbell continues as if nothing happened* ) Recall Madam foreman and your members that Mr. Chow said he saw a girl at Kartel’s home on August 16, 2011. I suppose he’s a celebrity of sort, so people will always be following him.

If you accept Chow’s evidence – Lizard was not sick last he saw him on August 14, 2011. He went in on his own speed to Kartel’s home and if you accept what Chow said – he was later seen motionless, lying on his back. The Prosecution are relying on testimony from Chow that St. John was seen with a block and Jones had grabbed Lizard from behind.

The next item the prosecution is relying on is the video. The video that Superintendent Thompson (Judge Campbell emphasizes the H) said was the House he visited where he felt a foul odour.

The prosecution are also relying on a message which they have alleged was sent by Mr. Palmer stating that dem cyaa find Lizard. Recall that there was an urgency in messages it was said was sent by Mr. Palmer regarding guns, that urgency according to the evidence led up to the 16th of August 2011. The prosecution r relying on evidence that that urgency disappeared after the 16th.
Recall also that Mr. Williams’ sister has testified that they were close but she has not seen or heard from him since that date and they were in no malice.


More to come

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Of bad words& betrayal – #KartelMurderTrial

Its February 19, 2014 – courtroom 2, Supreme Court, Downtown Kingston.

Jeremy Taylor, lead prosecutor gets ready to continue his closing submissions to the jury in what must be the biggest case for him as a prosecutor. There are barricades on the outside to get through. Body scanning machines are being used at the entrance to the Supreme Court as police increase their presence in and around the court.

Mr. Taylor is cool. He, like other lawyers, has not been scanned. They are officers of the court. He readies him. Its 10:50 AM. The jury box is full, so too is the prisoners’ dock. Mr. Taylor gets ready to begin and perhaps reminds himself of the yawning juror who forced him to end his address earlier than he’d planned yesterday. Mr. Taylor begins.

Here are my verbatim notes, as I am able to capture. Errors are mine, not Mr. Taylor’s.


Madam Foreman and Your Members, it occurred to me yesterday that although we’ve been together for approximately 3 months – having started the 18th of November, 2013 we have never introduced the prosecution team. Perhaps if you were when this is over, see me on the road and want to vent about something, it is only right that you should know my name – I am Jeremy Taylor and this is Dayton Morris  – in the event you want to direct your anger at any of us.

I stand in the shoes but not heels of the Director of Public Prosecutions of counsel who is seated here.

(DPP Paula Llewellyn QC has appeared in court several days of the trial to give moral support to her team on the prosecution benches. Palmer continues – without the heels of course)

We don’t ask you to return a verdict of guilty or such concoctions but to hold persons accountable. In this exercise, the office of DPP is the office which requires that persons must give an account as to their actions and the allegations against them. We play no part in rendering judgment.

Again I want to remind you when I closed yesterday – I told you the evidence of all 5 must be considered separate. I say this as it is quite possible in the addresses to come you will hear a lot about evidence which touches and concerns Palmer alone. There’s a view that if Palmer sinks, all should sink with him. That is not so!

It is quite possible, you heard about cell evidence that persons were at Andrews or Plantation Heights at some time. That concerns only that person. Even when you hear that you still have to come back and say they are saying so and so was in that cell site but where was Mr. St John? You must come back to it.

The three person Jones, Williams and St. John – even of you are to consider evidence that Campbell was shown to be headed back to St. Catherine, that doesn’t mean Jones, Williams and St. Jones get the benefit.

This case is not about if Palmer sinks all sink. There are 5 cases against all and they must be all considered separately. In addition learned senior counsel Finson said you are in a moral dilemma in having to rely on the evidence presented here. You are in no moral dilemma at all. You will only be in a moral dilemma if you are saying 5 are guilty but you are not sure of method used by state to gather evidence. That doesn’t arise here.

Even if it’s a matter of law the pronouncing of innocence of some kind is a moral choice but not a dilemma.

The other thing I am going to ask you to is to approach the case with – you are required to weigh the evidence – two scales not one like an ordinary tradesman. Based on how you weigh the evidence you determine its purity – Whether it’s like a rotten cabbage that’s green outside and stink on inside.

Take the evidence and assess the credibility of the witness – is it reliable – logical, consistent, or is it mix up and the witness change in the story all the time. Do aspects match up. Does it point and flow or is it scatter shot. All of these you put into consideration when assessments and evaluations of the evidence are being done – not only for crown as evidence has been lead by at least one of accused. Palmer called evidence on his behalf. Evaluate it in same matter.

The accused have all stayed where they are and have spoken. Your Lordship will tell you, it is not evidence, it a lesser species but you must still consider it because it’s a right they have which the Privy Council has expressed surprise that it has survived 21st century in Jamaica but it’s a right they have.

Learned Counsel Finson said if you were put in the position where you were arrested and charged and all things evidence put against you – conspiracy misconduct on part of the case. I am coming back to balance.  How would you feel if family member of yours was taken and killed and you had some evidence that someone did it? Would you also not want an accounting, someone to answer. Would you not want to know what became of your family member?

Yesterday counsel was filtering it through the prism of the accused. There was nobody here to filter for Clive Williams. Only his sister came. Don’t you think she deserves explanation about her brother’s death?

Just because a person is accused but presumed innocent, in this court scales of Justice are for all. Just as the accused deserve a fair trial, the death of anyone deserves a fair accounting. I ask you to reject that you must only put your self in the shoes of accused. In fact you are here not to wear anybody’s shoes.

When they ask you to put on shoes it is to get away from the direction of the judge – which is to have no sympathy and no bias. That’s not what I am asking you to do. When you took the oath that’s what you swore to do. We are not going to ask you about could have, should have. That will leave you to speculation. Speculation is a village in St. Elizabeth and we are not driving you there!

(Jurors chuckle- so too the rest of the court – Speculation moment)

We started this case November 20, 2013 by telling you about circumstantial evidence – that is evidence of fact from which you are asked to use your reason to infer further facts. The traditional case in court you would have direct evidence usually to say I saw when dem kill di man …I saw when dem poison the man, I saw when dem stab the man…you do not have that in this case. This case is about a series of facts we are asking you to look at and say :
– Clive Williams is dead
– One or all or some of these persons are responsible – that is Circumstantial Evidence.

You have to look at the evidence as a whole. You can’t pick it apart. It’s like a  rope composed of several chords.

The province of law is the learned trial judge.

Other issues here are – common design
This case is a Common Design case. In any Common Design case the allegation is that one or more participated in the criminal act another. In any Common Design case you have to look at scope of the Common Design. What is it that was agreed to do?

Here – the scope was to kill Clive Lloyd Williams for the loss of a firearm. The law of Common Design is – as long as you participate knowing that was the ultimate end it doesn’t matter that you didn’t pull trigger; it doesn’t matter that you didn’t wield the knife; it doesn’t matter that you didn’t administer the poison.

Common Design can encompass a person at a gate as look out man for the police. As long as he’s there to look out, he can be charged for murder

Here, if you deliver a person knowing they are going to die and you ‘cut’ after, you are part of a Common Design. You will soon see evidence against one such person here.

Also consider here – good character. Two of these persons have raised good character. Palmer has – by calling his sister and although Campbell hasn’t done same by calling someone, he’s put into evidence that he’s highly trained and was a good worker. None of the others have put good character in issue.

When good character is put in issue, that says ‘I am the kind of person who could never do that’ or as we would say ‘a lie dem a tell pon me’. Also because he’s a good person , he could never do that – he does not have the propensity to do that.

You have heard how Mr. Palmer was kind to his family – Bought car for his father, house for his mother. You are also entitled to ask if in all of his 38 yrs he could not find someone to come and give character evidence on his behalf. No mother would say his child is a murderer.

You can rely on his sister or reject it. You should ask could there not have been someone else? For all the gathering of Gaza – gazaites and gazelles – no one out of Gaza could come and speak from him. Not even Gaza from Middle East that Mr. Lorne has a fixation with.

I am not sure where good character goes in this case.

From the start you heard that Clive Lloyd Williams before he died had a matter before the gun court for which he was on bail. You heard Clive Williams locked gun. You heard Lamar Chow who was a member of Gaza also locked gun and you have heard that locked these guns on behalf of Mr. Palmer. Where is good character going? But it is still a consideration you have to deal with. The judge will direct you on that. It has also been the prosecution case that Clive Williams, although he didn’t deserve to die, is not a saint. At the time he was to face a trial for his own crimes. Now he can’t face that tribunal.

Likewise Lamar Chow – he only locks guns – still an illegal act. But what you have here is someone who was inside the organization coming to speak about the operation and the death of Clive Williams. And he has said Clive Williams is dead because of missing gun.

There are no saints here. No Sunday school here. No hands washed. All here are people who walked and traversed the forest of the underworlds….there’s balance.

The other issue is identification – I see identification of Lamar Chow and voice identification made by Lamar Chow of these persons. When you come to consider the I see evidence of Lamar Chow – you should consider, what time of day did he see these persons, the lighting, did Lamar Chow see the face of any of them, if he saw face, how long, …in any event if the witness hasn’t said how long, that’s not the end of matter because you can go by the witness’ narrative of what was happening. Did he have enough opportunity to see the face? Then look at distance – how close or far was he from them. Then because it was not easy situation operating on the mind of Lamar Chow in difficult circumstances so that he is mistaken.

Also recognition – Were they strangers to him or known to him before. If you know someone before would it take him same time to recognize them.

We have the same thing regarding voice identification – for how long were they known. Could he recognize them based on length of time. This is particularly relevant as regards Shane Williams. Is Lamar Chow’s identification of voice of Shane Williams proper having regard to all the circumstances of the case.


3507418 -a DIGICEL phone is alleged as Palmer’s
PIN – 244bae16 LIME phone -Palmer’s
When you go into deliberations you have to say whether you find these were his. You have to assess messages and call data regarding those.

There is a contest between the Crown and Defence on them. But these matters are not in issue:

(a)        August 16, 2011 – Lamar Chow, Adidja Palmer, Shawn Campbell and Andre St John, were all at 7 Swallowfield Ave.

(b)        AP was bitten by a dog at 7 Swallowfield Ave.

(c)        Regarding Shawn Campbell – we know that Clive Williams was in Havendale on August 16, 2011 – in his statement from the dock, Shawn Campbell said Lizard followed him to Havendale on that day

(d)        Telephone number – 2899664 belonged to Lamar Chow;

(e)        Telephone number – 5710021 belonged to Clive Williams (Lizard)

(f)        Telephone number – 3824835 belonged to Onika Jackson (Lizard’s girlfriend)

(g)        Telephone number – 5842183 belonged to Shawn Campbell – that one came out in cross of Constable Shawn Brown

(h)        Telephone number – 8445320 – belonged to Shawn’s Campbell child’s mother – that was put by Lorne (the attorney for Shawn Campbell) to Constable Shawn Brown – when he wanted to show that the police were part of conspiracy – so it came out on cross part of Defence that these numbers belonged to Shawn and his girlfriend. You remember the police said she was a beautiful girl? Shows that Shawn Campbell has great taste in women

Madam Foreman and your members – this is like a story with a prologue and an epilogue. We are at the epilogue which you will determine how it ends. No matter how it ends, someone will be leaving here unsatisfied. If you go to the prologue of case you must go back to August 14, 2011 – the events there provide motivation for how people behave on August 16, 2011.

You have people coming on the stage, coming off, coming on, and coming off.

Aug 14 you have headliner – Adidja Palmer. Opening act, Shawn Campbell. We also see appearances by supporting  characters Clive Williams and Lamar Chow. We also see Stephanie Brackenrige – sister of Clive Williams – she was the second witness for prosecution. She’s known as Nadine. You heard her describe the close relationship with her brother. That it was unusual for him not to be in contact with her. You recall August 14, 2011- the distress she observed on Clive Williams. She described how he rushed into house frightened until she gave him and Lamar Chow money to leave Waterford. Lamar Chow goes further and tells you who was on the phone to Clive Williams.

In fact as the phone was on speaker he spoke with a voice he recognized as Kahira Jones, interceding with Palmer regarding his guns. Mr. Jones told him it would be alright, don’t worry. If that was the only thing on that day it would be alright. But on August 14, 2011 you had bb message

‘yow call dem pussy deh and tell dem say mi want me shoes by 8′.

That is not the only message on August 14, 2011. Trying to satisfy daddy and teacher these authoritative titles – Clive Willaims sent a text on 14 August, 2011 about 3:09 in afternoon saying

‘Daddy a lickle ting gwaan. Me and Wee really want talk to you’

Sounds like a wayward child approaching his father in fear.

Clive Williams was sending message to Adidja Palmer, me and Wee –which is Lamar Chow want to speak with you. You have Miss Brackenridge, bb message and words of supplication from Clive Williams on the 14th of August 2011.

It doesn’t end there as on the same 14th of August 2011, Mr. Palmer is sending voice notes one

‘hombre den you nuh know say bloodclaat Lizard and Wee ago call mi phone and tell            …by eight o’clock’.  

That is what Mr. Palmer said on 14th of August. Put that voice note manipulation. You heard accused speak and it is the same you heard. His voice is the centre of his trade. Same voice on note is said voice from the dock.

And the voice note about bloodclaat calls made by bloodclaat Lizard and Wee (judge laughs at this) you had Adidja Palmer making a call to Clive Williams on the 14th August at 3:47PM for  3 minutes and 47 seconds.

Another call on the 14th August, 2011 at – 3:51PM – Adidja Palmer spoke to Clive Williams for over 4 minutes. Is it that all of this has been stitched together by police – the same police who never had personnel to send to Swallowfield…but it is the Defence no matter how fanciful it sounds.

So Mr Palmer calling Clive Williams – Clive Willaims was not the only one calling. Mr. Palmer. Lamar Chow also called Adidja Palmer and he called him 3:58PM on August 14, 2011 and again in afternoon at 4:51.

Look at the calls between Clive Williams and Adidja Palmer. Because if you were to follow the statement of Adidja Palmer (here Mr. Taylor reads part of Kartel’s unsworn statement) – what Mr. Palmer is saying is I don’t really know this man. He’s a stranger to me. But yet you have him not only getting calls from Clive Williams, you have him making calls to Clive Williams and in his profanity ridden tirade – that sound like a man who know who  he was talking to. It shows familiarity and recognition but that is matter for you to determine whether the statement from the dock which is not evidence is true.

(Court breaks for jurors to stretch their legs as Tom Tavares Finson raises with the judge reports that family members of Kartel had been denied entry to the courtroom while family members of the alleged deceased had no such challenge. The defence team were dissatisfied with Justice Campbell’s handling of the matter so when the break ended, there were still rumblings – Taylor rises to continue and realizes jurors are distracted)

Taylor – Please ignore the side rumblings and give me your attention.

August 14, 2011 – we are still on the prologue and dealing with the anxiety of Chow and Clive Williams and the loss of these shoes so to speak. These shoes are not NIKE, Adidas or Puma. In the scheme of things of this trial they are not Clark’s. In context of this case and events that lead to murder, shoes mean gun.

I am fortified in the view that shoes mean guns because I never heard of one pop shoes yet. I have heard of pop dung shoes – but not one pop. In the Voice Note this is what Adidja Palmer says –

‘no haffi seh nuttn bad man … Go mek some one pop and mek we hear and go kill two a dem ‘

In the context of that Voice Note can you really say of August 14, 2011 when Adidja Palmer was speaking of shoes he wasn’t speaking about shoes. You are Jamaicans.

We are still on the 14th of August – still anxious days. Clive Williams is flapping and decrying like a fish out a water. His 8 o’clock deadline is approaching.

(As prosecutor Taylor makes his closing submission to the jury, he cocks his left foot on the bench – he is charge and he wants to show it. He makes reference to a play now that I regret I have never heard about and while making note of his foot on the bench, I miss the start of his Dr. Foster play. He continues)

Just as Clive Williams was looking at his clock and can’t provide shoes and then Foster gives these words – slowly comes the forces of the might. Deadline provided, shoes can’t find, Kartel vex, Kartel a cuss, two a dem ago DEAD, distressing his sister so much so his sister sought to give him an avenue of escape. She gave him money and drove him and told him in essence  – get out of Waterford.

This is still the prologue – you have heard that both Lamar Chow and Clive Williams returned. But go back to 14th of August, 2011 – his life is in danger. What must I do? Between 8:08-8:15PM Clive Williams made a series of frantic calls to Adidja Palmer – None of which were answered. Williams is called repeatedly. He was not the only one calling. 8:16PM that night – 16 mins after the deadline – Lamar Chow is also calling Adidja Palmer.

You have heard again that this is a conspiracy – with such evangelical fervor that you almost want to shout amen or awoah when he was finished. So is Stephanie Barckenrigde a part of conspiracy? Police told her to go police station and report her brother missing?

(Incidentally, Stephanie Brackenridge now sits right next to me as I take full notes of prosecutor Taylor closing submissions. She notes with approval most of the points made by Taylor)

Between corporate area and Portmore about 23 dead bodies found – is that a part of the conspiracy. Because when all is said and done we must come back to first question – is Clive Williams dead?

On August 16, 2011 the accused man said

‘we chop us Lizard fine fine’ …

The finality of it that those who could see and hear about it would learn. This was an object lesson. You don’t mess with Adidja Palmer property. You heard on the Voice Note I going to kill two a dem bloodclaat
(Judge chuckles again)

He showed such contempt for both Clive Williams and Lamar Chow  – so on August 14, 2011, Clive Williams is still trying to reach out to man he describes as ‘daddy’. This is the reverse of the story of the prodigal…the prodigal was damned and to die in this case. The prodding with the shoes, guns and nothing he could do would satisfy him.

You ever wonder – why they never just beat him up and tek money why they had to kill him. If they had beaten him up none of us would be here. But was it decided Clive Willaims had to die. Now on the 15th August 2011 day after – you get calls from Adidja Palmer to Clive Williams at 10:28 in night Adidja Palmer is calling Clive Willaims; 10:35PM Adidja Palmer is calling Clive Williams; again at 11:03-11:07 Adidja Palmer is calling Clive Willaims.

So much for not knowing Lizard. So much for saying this is only a man I see when Storm carrying him to stage show. Lamar Chow and Clive Williams – were supposed to have left Waterford but they came back – on the evidence they had 3,000  – not sure how far that would have taken them.

But the hopelessness of the situation that made it difficult to run. Palmer exemplifies hopelessness of them running –

‘ but if dem cut, weh dem a raasclaat gu….if dem cut Shawn a go buy it back ‘.

Remember he’s a man of power and influence – he has the title Teacha and one that he equates with a Lord God Almighty – WORL BOSS. Where would Lamar Chow and Clive Williams go. He is alter all god almighty. No third world in Waterford. Can you see hopelessness why they thought they could convince him otherwise.

So on the 14th Stephanie Brackenridge and Lamar Chow speak about what happened and phone records bear that out. This is a police conspiracy? That is the Defence you have to consider it. But I really want you to reject it.

(There is a reference here to a bronze statue in Daniel with the feet of clay….but I didn’t catch it all. Mr. Taylor moves now to August 16, 2011.)

August 16, 2011
This is day for which the Crown indicted all 5 accused
The indictment reads – Adidja Palmer, Shawn Campbell, Andre St. John, Kahira Jones, Shae Williams – on or about the 16th August, 2011 in parish of St Andrew murdered Clive Williams. The indictment is just a charge sheet.

You will recall that shoes still needed to be accounted for. Lamar Chow came and spoke about how Shawn Campbell pressure them to go and see Kartel on that day. When Shawn Campbell in his statement from the dock which is not evidence puts it’s innocuously that Lizard followed me to Havendale, nutten nuh gu so. But you see why Adidja Palmer was pressuring to …Shawn Storm haffi gu buy it back. He himself has to give an account why them two lost the gun so he pressured to go to Havendale. The state of mind of Shawn Campbell is very interesting on that day.

Remember the relationship they had – Shawn Campbell, Lamar Chow, Clive Williams were three good friends – so much so on Shawn Campbell’s birthday Lamar Chow said ‘bless up you strong Siva’ while he was here giving evidence. They had a close relationship. Palmer said he only encountered him with Shawn Campbell.

This betrayal of brothers is not equal to betrayal of Jesus but of Joseph betrayed by his brothers. But Lizard got a one way trip to Egypt – can’t come back -sell him put for guns ss he didn’t want to be responsible.

Lamar Chow is cousin to Shawn’s girlfriend. Shawn Campbell’s crime is the worst. His is the worst. Lamar Chow and Clive Williams were strangers to Palmer. But Shawn Campbell man – when push come to shove he helped put them under the bus.

(Taylor to continue)

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Prosecution’s closing speech – #KartelMurderTrial

Here are my verbatim notes of the closing speech of the prosecution in the Kartel and others murder trial.

Lead prosecutor Jeremy Taylor – on his feet. If a sentence does not make sense, it may be my error in forcing my fingers to keep apace with the normal speech of the prosecutor delivered in real time. Mr. Taylor begins his submission after the lunch hour immediately after Tom Tavares Finson completes his.


Madam Foreman and your members.

Good Afternoon.

I apologize to you for having me to listen for the rest of the day.
Again I apologize as I can’t give you voice variation. I don’t have the talent of mimicry. I can’t round up my mouth and say ‘Ahha Wallah hah!’ 

(Taylor ridicule of Tavares Finson’s histrionics is met with laughter by all in the courtroom)

I urge you madam foreman if you feel sleepy don’t fall asleep when I go on and on. My friend said I will address you for 3 days perhaps he’s hacked into my phone. But hacking is not new in this trial.

(Taylor opens with a bang as the courtroom laughs with him – a smile has already popped from the face of the judge twice – Taylor humour)

I thank you. You have been patient. You have endured. From the legal points and arguments you may have wondered a number of things. Some of you are self employed and have had to take care of your own affairs and do justice. Much of the case has been technical. It has been technical, boring. Some of you may have rested your head back on the hard bench and fallen asleep in the back. I felt that way at times but couldn’t as it would not look appropriate.

But this is no benchmark case. The only thing that makes this a benchmark is that we have been sitting a tough benches for months.

(Taylor is at his wittiest best – taking jabs at Tavares Finson and being read appropriate by the court including the jury).

This is a simple case. This case had technical issues, handwriting, viva voce evidence which means  – witness came and described what he saw.But it’s not benchmark case.

In all of excoriating of my friend, he never once mentioned the name Clive Williams. (slight murmur in the court when this is said)

There’s another person in this matter – Clive Williams a name Mr. Finson never once mentioned in his address.

(Mr. Taylor asks for a picture of Clive Williams to be circulated in the jury box and then continues)

Mr. foreman and your members, I have circulated that picture so that you don’t forget that there’s a real person at the base and foundation of this trial. While the accused Palmer, – have been free to make their case for their innocence in another trial one that took place 16 Aug 2011, Clive Lloyd Williams otherwise called Lizard was not given that opportunity. There we allege Adidja Palmer was judge, jury and executioner of Clive Williams. And he comes here invoking notions of justice and fairness that Clive Williams didn’t get on August 16, 2011.

(Another item is circulated in the jury box. This time, letter purportedly written by Lamar Chow. Mr. Taylor says he will come back to that. He continues)

You don’t need to agree with me on submissions I make but I am duty bound to put them to you.

There is a limitation – equality of arms – ethics of profession says we are to approach our job in a measured fashion. We can’t get emotional nor get invested in the trial. At no time will you hear me ask you to convict the accused. This is because prosecutors are not invested in the outcome. I can put the evidence before you and ask for you to be bound by your oath. But myself and Mr. Morris can’t do that.

We can’t be emotional about any case we prosecute because you may get emotional and convict based on the emotions and that would be wrong. So you won’t see this.The ethics of the case demand that I do not.

Third thing – whereas my friend can speak and accuse persons of being corrupt, incompetent and part of conspiracy. I can’t do that.  If I were to do that and secure convictions it may be overturned on appeal   But I asked for same the attention you gave to him.

In this case Madam Foreman and Members of the Jury – I am going to be asking you to decide the case purely on evidence not on the basis of prejudice or bias that you may have – none to the accused neither prejudice to prosecution case. Decide dispassionately based on the evidence.

Mr. Palmer has put his appearance in issue. The first time that came into issue was when he rose to give his statement from dock which is not evidence. But it fits into direction which the judge will give. What he describes as his bleaching and tattooing are irrelevant. Some of you may have thought he was emotionally overcome when he gave statement from the dock which is not evidence. His voice may have cracked, he pointed to grand mother and other members of his family, that is not to sway you.

But if you bring emotion here, I will bring emotion of the sister of Clive Williams, Stephanie Brackenridge who broke down and wept so much that Rogers had to end his cross examination. But you cannot bring that into it.

When all is said and done Mr Palmer’s family knows where to find him. They can still see him. They can bring toothpaste for his. They can bring boxers for him. He can still see them. But where is Clive Williams. Is he chopped up fine fine so no one can see him. Is he mince meat. Did his sister get a chance to church his body. To this day he has not been seen nor heard from.

When you compare those 2 emotions it’s easy to get lost and sidetracked.

Questions of fact – whether Stephanie Brackenridge has seen her brother. She reported him missing at Waterford Police Station.

The letter you just read, th last sentence seemed to have been tacked on as an afterthought. ‘The reason why I Don’t want to come to court is because I see Clive after that’

The writer hasn’t even put a date although he has included a date in the letter itself.

So is Clive Willaims chopped up fine fine …is he mince meat or is he still alive. That is the first issue in this case. You must determine whether you find as a question of fact whether Clive Williams is alive. If you decide he’s alive, the case is done.


Is Clive Williams still alive – if evidence satisfies you that he’s dead move on to ask if Palmer, Campbell, Jones, Williams and St. John are guilty of causing his death.

In determining that you must consider the case of all 5 separately – you can’t jumble dem up – you can’t say if Palmer is guilty all are guilty …you must look at the evidence of all separately.

Certain aspects of evidence when do not touch and concern some of these accused. For example the evidence about Shane Williams – Whether it’s Williams Shane in the video having discussion about killing somebody; in relation to Jones – contained in evidence of. Chow is information that when he went to Swallowfield, Jones was there.

With Campbell and Palmer, the evidence runs the full spectrum from Chow to the technical evidence. Those two cross a broad spectrum. The evidence not as narrow or focused.

End of first day of submissions….Taylor to continue 

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First closing speech – #KartelMurderTrial

These are my verbatim notes, as I able to capture, of the closing speech of Kartel’s attorney, Tom Tavares Finson. Kartel having called witnesses to give evidence on his behalf is the first to make a closing address to the jury. The address of the legal team for Kartel is followed by the address of the prosecutor, Jeremy Taylor. There are no pauses by the lawyers for notes to be taken. Lawyers speech freely and my fingers struggle to keep up. If a sentence doesn’t make sense, it may be my error.

This has been a long case. We are at a stage now as Your Lordship has been telling you the case is winding now. Now as counsel for Adidja Palmer, I will address you.

It’s 11:15 now. You have sat there so long and listened to so much and some of you leave your business unattended. I will take no more than 1 hour to address you and I proceed by telling you this.

(Tavares Finson asks the registrar here for the Indictment on his which the accused are charged).

These persons including Adidja Palmer charged on an indictment that says they, on or about August 16, 2011 murdered Clive Williams. The prosecution called a number of witness.

When this case started and came before the number 2 courtroom here at the Supreme Court, it came to you masquerading in the authoritative robe of the DPP. The prosecutor said to you, dressed in noble robes of constitution of Jamaica, listen to them and believe them as they are witnesses of truth. Listen as their evidence in this case is true. You can trust us. You can trust what we say. And they brought evidence.

On face of it they say you can trust us but through cross examination we have ripped those robes to shreds. We have ripped those robes SHRED BY SHRED leaving the prosecution case naked and exposed as a conspiratorial lie. We have ripped those robes SHRED BY SHRED by SHRED leaving the prosecution case naked and exposed as a CONSPIRATORIAL LIE.

(Tavares Finson uses variation of tone to cause eyes to be glued to him).

Dressed in fact in incompetence and who cannot say that it is not incompetence that is not the hallmarks of this case!

Let’s look at the prosecution case- What is it they have lost.

They cannot even find the original statement of witnesses before this court. The respected SSP Ford –  Bigga whom we all love, cannot find its book. They lost CD, JS 1! And you are faced with the unfortunate situation of having to judge a case faced with their dishonesty and incompetence.

The truth of matter – the prosecution case is crippled by so many internal contradictions that I don’t where you would start in your deliberations. If I say anything which is not correct, the judge will stop me.

Listen to the evidence for the prosecution:
- Chow said he arrived 7 Swallofield Avenue between 5 and 5:30PM;
- On the prosecution evidence based on telephone data that put him in Portmore at that time;
- The alleged deceased man is now in Portmore;
- 7:20 PM Clive Williams phone is showing up in Meadow lands;
- 7:20 PM Adidja Palmer is already at Andrews. Hospital!  You saw a photograph of Mr. Palmer’s leg in Andrews hospital.
– At the time the dog bite his leg and he’s been treated the alleged deceased is in Portmore.

7:08PM when Mr. Palmer  is at Andrews hospital, Williams is still in Portmore.

The BB message that says -‘we chop him up …’ – that message was created 3 HOURS after the telephone was in the custody of police. When the prosecution  says to you, the Defence is talking and they have not proved anything was done with the material. We don’t have to prove anything! But we did

Linton agreed with a question from Rogers that the message that said ‘ we chop him up…’ was created 3 HOURS after the phone was in police custody.

Dem play a video that don’t show nobody face and there is some people talking 2-3 words used to implicate  Mr. Palmer.

What’s the significant about this video is that it was created 10:53PM on the 16th  August 2011, after   Mr. Palmer get dog bite and Chow gone bout him business.

It is because we as Defence had capacity to probe why those things are before you. If we never had our experts we wouldn’t be able to do so.

Our expert was ARRESTED by one of the witness here and the DPP came here and said ‘oh he was not arrested he was asked to come down’ (Finson takes on his best Paula Llewellyn impression as he mimics the DPP’s voice…then continues) and we live in Jamaica! So if he wasn’t arrested, why was he picked up?

Left to another case, that evidence would never have been exposed. When evidence was being given by Mr. Linton, Your. Lordship said to us ‘listen the tutorial’ I agree! It could have been videoed and sent to Damascus, Canada and all the places he trained on how not to do something! (Tavares Finson’s voice now occupies every molecule of air in the courtroom at it is raised in anger)

( Tavares Finson climbs down from anger to a calmer persona and continues)

A lot sit on my mind. During this case before us before the case done is SSP Ford who all of us love came and told us ‘since evidence exposed, JCF put new rules into place how to deal with telephones! We soon get back to that …

Next thing -that line from Linton ‘when I say off I mean on’. Imagine you left your house and tell your husband to tun off the stove and him leave it on and when you go back di whole place bun down cos ‘when I say off I mean on’.

You see the jury system we operate in Jamaica, the law says in certain cases one is entitled to trial by a jury of his peers – you are not executives from banking, tourism in this case. You know how Jamaica set so when the DPP comes here and says he was just asked, you know how that go! And when man come here and say off mean on – you know is rubbish.

We no care how you look. We don’t care if your wear a football shirt come in here. Common sense is all we ask you to apply in this case.

Fortunately or not you will here some of the same things from my colleagues so I have to tell you some things. The prosecution brought the case and they have to prove it point by point.

Whether it is about the integrity of the telephone evidence, voice recordings or bb messages, I could have come here and said not a word!

When the prosecution tell you and he’s going to tell you as day follows night- that  he didn’t prove text messages were interfered with – I never had to! But I did.  I established that they were interfered with and manipulated. It’s their responsibility and they have failed through incompetence motivated by malice!

They have to convince you so that you feel sure – beyond a reasonable doubt of the guilt of the five persons and they brought evidence to put before you. Bear in mind, I will not go through very witness.

First they brought  Chow – you need to consider and it’s fresh in my mind – the Defence is saying Chow write the letter and took it to the Public Defender and in that letter he made certain allegations. He said :
- police came for him by brute force; and
- he has seen Clive Williams since

If you accept what retired SSP Major says that is Chow write it, then that affects all of his evidence.

Why would he tell you him don’t write it?

Major said he had the original document and 32 signatures and he said Chow write it. Yes the signature on document to Public Defender look different but when you look at his September 9 statement you will see overwriting there.

I am Carl Mingo Major and I have been working for 35 years with the government. On his evidence a police man was convicted for murder – and sentenced to 45 years without parole. This happened in November 2013 and the have the audacity to question his findings!!!

Mr. Taylor asked Major how come you had no original signature?
Why no original signature – is photocopy we use because the prosecution lose the original and then turn around and blame Major because he didn’t look at the original

(Tavares Finson laughs to and with himself and with all as if to say this is ridiculous to a fault – laugh).

Major said he didn’t have the original document and you heard today that they had the original signature since December of 2013 and is yesterday afternoon they give it to me! And is my fault.

Major said to you ‘a man on a galloping horse would a mek out The handwriting’ –  33 signatures them have. If they had problem with Major, they would have brought someone here. They had not one but two handwriting experts!

In Jamaica, Major is the handwriting expert. Children at Norman Manley Law School read bout major. Them could a bring man all from foreign. Dem have 2 report and them nuh bring it but then tek set pon Major fi 3 days. One a di time when him come out a di witness box him blow!

Major say a Chow write di letter and no matter how much Taylor huff and puff Major stick to his findings.

Prosecution say how much signature you have? Is 32!

Chow says he arrived at Swallowfield 5-5:30. Prosecution evidence is at that time the alleged deceased never leave Portmore yet. How can prosecution explain that to you as thinking Jamaicans?

Chow says he goes to di house and sees men hold on to Lizard, him fear for him life and him run….no no run, fly ova di gate – I not taking any issue with that cos dem say when trouble tek you pickney shut fit you…

But, the same man weh plan fi kill him and him put man in a taxi and tek him to hospital.  From Swallowfield  Avenue to Mannings Hill Rd. Pitbull a nuh lickle mawga dawg. Pitbull- Everyday you day in a di paper you read bout pitbull a nyam up people. Him don’t jump out at Mary Brown corner you know…don’t leap out at Grants Pen Police Station. Him stay til him reach Andrews hospital. Him sign in the man who plan fi kill him at the hospital.

The photograph that they show you puts Palmer at hospital at 7:08 – the first one with a small bandage

The later picture is with a more impressive bandage.
The same man now in hospital with doctor and I was sitting here expecting to hear him seh him run gone over Devon house . Hi stay deh and the taxi is there. This doesn’t spell sense!

Him follow man all up a pharmacy fi get tablet and drop man to guest house and tek same taxi gone a Portmore.
(A juror in the front row yawns Tavares Finson says – no, don’t yawn – to a courtroom chuckle)

It is because that story is so challenging why they rely on technical evidence.

This is a benchmark case – nothing like this never gwaan. Sometime you have a case wid blackberry message but this is noteworthy something. This is unprecedented – them bring the kitchen sink and the TV against this man and say deal wid it and we deal with it.

You knew if police come and tek evidence who knew there’s something called forensic imaging … Linton knew that but he didn’t know that I, Rogers, Lorne, Dewar, Harris would find out. But we find out
(Names mentioned by Tavares Finson represent lawyers on the Defence team).

You hear them talk bout taxi driver near Needfa speed, all now we don’t see him and we don’t hear why.

Mr. Ford – someone I choose to deal with next. I have a lot of respect but I lose affa him. Him come and say him took off some long number and put phone in evidence bag and you say give me the notebook – Mr. Ford laas it

Murray say she have her book cos Forc told her it’s very important and Ford laas fi him own.

Imagine if you sit in this so court as a parent and first thing that come up is that him laas it. You would be appalled and You should be…

Joseph Simmonds – don’t know so much what a gwaan a Ja. He said he got request from police. Him say you have bb message and you have text. Every time you send text it write down a DIGICEL you know. Dem carry Simmonds and him say police say send out all text from Palmer phone. Him say they have a protocol – that just mean a practice.

They come and say give me all they texts. Him gone on him laptop and make 2CD and wrap them and put them in evidence bag.  Him a write a name to make sure nobody don’t go in there. The other one him don’t open at all
Cos since police getting one CD he has other as control so no one can interfere with that. Him say when him put on the tape – evidence is to show if it was open. Bear in mind his job

He put it in an envelop, signs and admits CD number 2 can be changed. In fact people people listen to me him could not identify JS 2 as he didn’t even mark it. But him don’t accustom to Jamaican police. Is England him work. Cos if did him would a put a little scratch and seh see it ya.

I ask him if him would do it so again. Him say no!

Listen to the killer – only way you can verify information on CD number 2 is to have CD number one. So I said ‘can you say in front of jury and the court that the document JS2 is a true representation of what you took off laptop’

His answer to me was – ‘if you can hand me JS1 I may be able to do so’
The Prosecution is asking you to accept JS2 information when DIGICEL witness can’t confirm it.

Hear me now – ‘Mr. Taylor would you be so kind as to hand me JS1’?
Judge said – ‘Mr. Finson are you finish…yes Mr. Taylor’
Hear Taylor – ‘I don’t have JS 1 My Lord’

To date have you not heard any explanation as to how Ford come to lose his book and the DPP office come to lose the disc.

Simmonds can’t verify but you must convict people of murder when Simmonds says he never see that yet!

Hear me to Mr. Simmonds now ‘in consequence of the loss Mr. Simmonds – you can’t identify the contents of JS2′ but the prosecution saying you show convict them on that.

Those texts you hear Jamaican police come and say bout ‘how much to deal with everything fi Lizy…’when you find out is the man talking bout him daughter!

If police were able to do that, if it wasn’t for the calibre of people and expert we have on this side…we wouldn’t find out. A trick dem a try trick you!

As far as the series of text that come from down a DIGICEL is concerned, your cannot rely on that.

That moves me easily in  evidence of Shawn Brown – man who tell you, I am a professional but it is important for you ask professional at what because recognize this. Brown now – you know my friend Lorne made an important point and I really heard it on the radio. Lorne ask him – ‘Is there anything that requires a Justice of the Peace to be present when preparing these documents’
And I was thinking it should be a part of the law but that don’t exsist in Jamaica cos this is Jamaica.

Brown attended meetings with police investigators and he knows how to deal with text to fit them into the picture that they are creating. Brown attended those meetings and he’s also the person who was also with the CD teking information off the CD. So it’s crucial that they act above board. So when you find an instance where they do not act above board you have to ask can I act on his evidence. If Simmonds couldn’t accept it, why should you.

(Short break for jurors to stretch their legs)

Chow evidence open to so many questions that what prosecution is open to say is, don’t worry about Chow, deal with the technical evidence as that is above reproach. But the same witness who said you can trust me is the same one that go into material and create a story about Lizy.

Judge –  Mr. Finson, the evidence wasn’t that he created story of Lizy
Finson – he took something completely out of context and is asking you to believe. -

‘how much to deal with everything fi Lizy’ and he created a story cos you don’t have enough sense to understand and he doesn’t understand that we are smart enough to look at what he did.

Brown is also person that dealt with the of where the phones were -
At 5:27:57 seconds Clive Williams was in Waterford when Chow says he was at Swallowfield and it goes right along just as I showed you.

When Palmer was as hospital, Williams just leaving St. Catherine.

Prosecution will rely on technical evidence but remember the person who created JS1 document don’t know cos the document disappear offa di face of the earth and gone. GONE. No explanation

Then the prosecution seh they are calling an expert – DNA evidence.  All of us watch CS what ? CSI and Law and Order. One heralding of DNA evidence. They said they find a little drip of blood – human blood and tek sample. The Expert didn’t seh she smell nothing when she come here.

The DNA don’t prove A TING – DNA not linked to Clive Williams. Why was that evidence put before you if not to confuse, deceive and mislead you. The 11 of you as Jamaicans should ask them -Why they bring it here.

Police man Thompson said he was in charge of crime scene. Say him smell the place smell terrible. And him run a little yellow cord to undo it and leave it. Not even a little blue seam police – no disrespect to you constable blue seam in court.

Not even to put a District constable to guard the house when the house was in the custody of state. Somebody go there and burn down the house. Nobody was put there as he never had manpower or money to buy lock.

If it was your relative would you be comfortable if police bring them here to answer to murder charge under these circumstances. This is so funny and it cease to be amusing that the prosecution asking you to that accept evidence. They are not putting it up as a joke

Listen to me now – tell dem fi deal wid the Text that dem tamper wid, deal wid Ford and losing his book, deal wid the two handwriting expert that they use and never bring and deal wid the absence of the original statement when he as representative of state laas it.
JS1 that Simmonds give them, them laas it.

If I was DPP and I lose dem document deh, pI would hide it like how dem hide the expert that them get

At 7:08PM all now dem don’t leave Waterford and the man deh a Andrews
So DNA evidence turn out to be wet squid, house in their custody and it burn down – I would be ashamed to say so! I am  Inspector of police and responsible for high profile scene and I only put up a piece of yellow tape. I would be ashamed. I would come here and beg pardon!

So when Palmer says something is wrong I feel there is a conspiracy… When im say it when the case start dem in a court a laugh a yap yap yap after me. And it burn me too man – court full when case start. Police full up di place

I have never seen this!
4 original statement and them laas it. August 24, – 4 statement dem laas fi di man and dem don’t cry excuse and just gwaan and when di man say im feel like the victim of conspiracy dem laugh after me. Well, dem nah laaf now.

We have exposed their conspiracy, we have exposed Chow as a liar. Not just me you now. All a we!

But that’s not the end. They going to come and play every text but you need to say all of that is subject to manipulation. Mr Taylor will say but you haven’t prove manipulation. I don’t have to prove anything!

The prosecution sent fi dem big gun- Bigger than Linton. Insp Warren Williams. He  deals with for examination in a Jamaica. After 2 questions him say he doesn’t know where the house is. It is critical as all other measurement is taken from there. He said Thompson tek him and show him place weh burn down and him put ballon and pin di wrong place and him say is google fault.

Google map is a thing weh dem can track all fish. If you hang washing pon di line a you yaad, google map can pick it up. And him blame google map. And when this man says me feel like a victim people laugh or use to laaf.

(Court breaks here again. I missed a few minutes upon resumption. Here’s where I picked up again)

….someone has capacity to interfere with the evidence on phone.

The Chop up text was created 3 hours after the phone was in police custody. Linton never tell you that. He came here as expert intending to deceive.

Give me the phone relevant to this matter Finson asks of the registrar.
Holds up the phone – this is instrument they took from Palmer and Linton says a constable by the name of Pitt …

At the Flying Sqaud, the phone was being used at flying squad and that chop up text was created 3hours after police had it in their custody. When Ford had this phone, it was being used and that critical text was placed on it.

Prosecution said to him you put in a safe place. He said yes to protect if from moisture, humidity and something else. He kept it away from everything except those at the lab.
And him lock it up and put the key pon top of the safe. Imagine you get 2000 pound from your relative in England and you lock it up and put key pon top of a safe and someone open safe and tief di money.

Forensic imaging showed the phone was interfered with five times while in police custody. What you are left with is a prosecution case that is so the foundation of integrity.

So when Adidja Palmer gets up and says I am an innocent man and says that there’s a conspiracy to remove me from society for a very long time cos when I came down with Ford when they arrested me there were members of the press there.

He is in custody and he hears bout deceomposing body. We made an application for bail and we are told they found blood and have DNA. The Judge make the order for the DNA to be brought. Heh, then we hear next ting bout video – at 10:53PM when video was being made Kartel was picked up on Grants Pen Road.

In the bail application they say they found 4 phones in his cell and turned out to be a lie! And they say there’s no conspiracy.

Then they say they find flat screen TV in his cell. On top of that the Minister of National Security have his picture a congress and all bout and say him is the cause of all crimes in Jamaica. Him sing a song – I wonder sometimes if I am in a dream. Man in custody awaiting trial and the. Minister of National Security a walk and a say him guilty. And him jus a galant a galang and nobody nuh say anything bout it?

You have the power to say to them now you are incompetent! What you are doing to the citizens of Jamaica is wrong. A don’t give hoot. Simmonds say if this was Engalnd it wouldn’t go nowhere.

Raise the standard man. All of us here are appalled even the commissioner of police is appalled because before the case finish Ford say di slackness wah use to go on not going to go on again.

(Finson reads from the Observer newspaper procedure for phones seized from suspect …mandatory for certain steps to be taken ….)

All them procedure too late for him. The horse done gallop gone thru the game. You, the 11 sensible Jamaicans must say to the authorities wheel and come again. Put your house in order if you want to convict people.

They have a chance to put this right. They start already.  Use this opportunity to get rid of corruption and I say corruption without fear of contradiction.

Bring a verdict if NOT guilty for each and every one of these 5 men but recognize that when you do, you doing that not only for the judicial system but to country because if you accept this sort of slackness it is not going to stop.

If you accept police using phones, losing notebooks, losing CDs and convict on it is saying to authorities gwaan do what you want and lock up anyone and be he high or be he low no body phone information is sacred. Everything you write is at DIGICEL. It is there somewhere waiting for some unscrupulous character.

Government pass law and put some guidelines about how these things are to be dealt with in court. You come here are argue about rules that parliament put in court. And prosecution come here and say whether …

I am you asking to return w verdict for Jamaica. Turn your back on the slackness and send them back to the drawing board. Let them keep a Commission of Enquiry when this is done and see what slackness happened here.

Because none of us is scared. Be he high or be he low.

This is said to be the longest case in recent history in Jamaica  – just the other day I was drawing my sorrel, Now it’s almost Easter.

What the prosecution has put before you has placed you in a moral dilemma with the evidence each of which is subject to some manipulation.

BB messages including -‘ mi chop him up fine fine’ –  contained in bb transmission and I said to Simmonds how would I be able to check that to see if was really sent.
He said – BB message can be a manipulated. So how you check it?
He said -‘In reality the information is stored on BB is held outside of Jamaica’

Is asked him -‘so if I wanted to verify information and be certain of its authenticity how can I do that’
His answer- ‘ only way to verify that information is to go to RIM – Research In Motion’

Every piece of info is there put down. Just write to legal liaison for RIM.
When I asked Linton he said he don’t know. He didn’t know about RIM

So what are you being asked to be do?
The Video was made at 10:53 – but why is it being put before me – seek answer from Mr. Taylor in his 3 day address that he’s going to give you. You are in a moral dilemma in that the prosecution is asking you to convict on information that is unverifiable in circumstances where Palmer says there’s a conspiracy. You blame him? I don’t

I am asking for a for fair hearing. Don’t allow 3 days of rehashing the evidence here. It cannot be changed. You have heard it all.

When Brown came here with text poeple say my god, this man corner dark. Then DNA evidence came and people say, my gad dis man corner dark.

Well, we have ripped the robes it and left them whimpering.

I am asking you to deliver a verdict of NOT GUILTY and say to authorities do better than that next next time. Don’t try that with any other citizen.

My regret is that it has taken so long. Perhaps the men being in custody for so long  was for a purpose.

Be patient and deliver your verdict knowing you have done your duty to the system and Jamaica land we love.

If anything and later you say heh Mr. Finson forget this and for that- Remember you know, we are under I wouldn’t say pressure but we do our best. Do your best and deliver a proper verdict. Thank you Madam Foreman and Your members.

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KEEP OUT – #KartelMurderTrial

Its February 19, 2014.

There is animation and anxiety in the 200 metre space around the Supreme Court on King Street in downtown Kingston. In courtroom number 2, Vybz Kartel sits in the dock with his co-accused as prosecutor Jeremy Taylor prepares to rubbish the closing argument of defence attorney, Tom Tavares Finson who acts for Kartel. The case has been going on since November 20, 2013 – we are nearing the end. The stakes are high. Security is tight as I have never seen it before.

At the King Street entrance to the Supreme Court main gate a member of the Island Special Constabulary Force is busy frisking with his small hand held machine every person who tries to enter the precincts of the Supreme Court. A female member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force stands with him. 

In a hideout spot on Church Street very close to the parking lot of the Supreme Court, a police car is parked. A small group of about 5 members of the police force are seen keeping guard at the entrance to the parking lot. Tower Street is blocked – a barricade in the road is manned by a police on foot. There is a team of others not far away. Police personnel are sprawled out atop service vehicles on Tower Street – their high powered weapons are on cock. King Street is blocked in front of the Khemlani Store. No one enters King Street unless the response to a question from the police is satisfactory. Downtown is on edge. The precise reason is not known to many.

There are whispers that the police had intelligence overnight. Intelligence is as intelligence is – secret. 

Court is about to resume its morning session. The eleven member panel of jurors takes seat in the box. The judge arrives. Jury is again asked to leave. Christian Tavares Finson wishes to address the court in the absence of the jury. Something weighs heavily on him. In the normal course of a trial, I do not report matters that transpire in the absence of the jury but these matters are later repeated in their presence hence my reporting of Christian’s burden that weighed him down.

He stands and says to the judge – I am very distressed to see the approach the police have taken this morning – extra police personnel who have descend on the building. 

Judge – are you privy to intel the police has – is the judge’s almost impatient reply.

Christian – I am not My Lord but this scenario that bothers me – media representatives have identification, lawyers have identification, workers have to provide identification cards but jurors have to disclose that they are jurors to get unto the Supreme Court complex and that is very irregular and dangerous. Additionally, the family of the accused have been prevented from entering the building. There is no indication as to the reason this is so. I do no know that there is any order from this court.

Judge – other considerations may be that the police may be aware of. We are not centre of Jamaica. And you had better direct your questions elsewhere.

Christian – Very well My Lord but I want the record to reflect my concern.

The members of the jury are now called back inside. That is not the end of the matter. Christian’s father, Tom Tavares Finson, the lead attorney for Kartel is to raise the matter after the mid morning adjournment – this time in the presence of the jury.

Tom – My Lord, I am not sure if it has been brought to your attention that family members of the accused have been denied entry to this morning’s sitting of this court.

Judge – it was brought to my attention. The police may have done that for whatever reason they see it fit. I do not know there’s anything I can do.

Tom – I can’t imagine that Your Lordship is ceding authority on this matter.

Judge – I am doing no such thing. I have no intel

Tom – it is unfair that my client’s family has been coming to court to watch the proceedings. Today when they come here and where they have been sitting is occupied by members of constabulary

Judge – no one has any seat in these courts

Tom – I know no one has seat My Lord but the family of accused are being prevented from coming into court premises and court house and the family of others are here.

Judge – I will direct you to speak to police. And I will do the same.

Tom – I am saying I will not speak with The POLICE  – I ask for your intervention.

At the end of the session, the judge calls the superintendent and says ‘I have been made to understand that members of public some related to the family of accused have been denied entry. I don’t know the reason if any. What I will say is that every Jamaican citizen has a right to the court unless security forces have some reason that could interfere with the rule of court. I wish for you to bear that in mind. I can’t give any instructions as I don’t know what your intelligence is. But I ask you to consider the rights of the citizens regarding access to court. I wish for you to bear that in mind’.

Mr Tavares Finson is later to announce to the court that during lunch he had discussions two police personnel – Superintendent Pinnock and Ellis who reported there was ‘a breakdown in communication and I accept what they have said’.

Judge – do you believe if you had gone to them before the matter would have been dealt with

Tom – No My Lord because it was because of what transpired in court why they came to me.

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