Kartel trial – my verbatim notes

Friday – December 13, 2013.

It was expected that the trial judge, Justice Lennox Campbell would continue hearing submissions in the absence of the jury and media. By mid morning, the court was informed that the witness on whose evidence the judge was to decide whether it would be admissible had taken ill.

The jury was then hurriedly called to court and another witness for this prosecution was called to give evidence in the presence of the media and the jury. Tom Tavares  Finson – lead attorney for Adijah ‘Vybz Kartel’ Palmer was locked in the Senate dealing with legislative matters. His son , Christian Tavares Finson who is his second in the trial was to later cross examine the telecoms expert who was called.

all others lawyers were accounted for.

Witness – Mario Assad – a telecoms expert from MOBILE company, DIGICEL.

Below are the verbatim notes I was able to capture.

Witness says DIGICEL has cell sites/ towers across country – strategically positioned to provide coverage …these transmitters provide and receive radio signals to and from mobiles…

When a call is made:  A number = party who makes; and B number =rec party

When call is done – call detail record – CDR is registered in the system with details of call ie A number, IMSI…intl mobile subscriber id, B number, IMEI – Intl mobile equivalent id =
Also CGI – cell global id – id of site that is on the tower
If text is sent – it would contain text – Short message service, SMS contained in CGI…generated automatically in the system

CDR has information such as time, duration (if voice), date
Time of message included- if a text message, SMS is sent.

Towers are strategically positioned to provide best coverage possible – avoid mountains, hills, large bldgs…provide best radio signal possible …

At base of tower is an electronic equipment called base station. Typically between base station and top of tower there are feeder cables or fibre cables. At top of tower, antennae receive signals to n from mobiles

Base station connected back to main system via transmission. In most cases transmission can be via radio microwave signals others by fibre optic…

Prosecutor – What about Range

Answer-  hard to answer. Range is small in city about 500 meters. Typically so in urban coverage radius is small. Many kilometers in rural areas

Depends on geography n density ….

Outside Portmore – there are more than 100 cell sites

Antennas – typically 3 at top of tower …(3 cells, each in one direction – 120 degrees each ….each of those 120 degrees is a cell and has a CGI

They are examined n maintained on a regular basis

If cell sites not working properly, they cannot produce calls – no CDRs
Judge asks – if there overlap between sites ie if you are equal distance between cell site what happens

Ans – phone will choose best signal …mainly on strength n quality of signal from interference n obstacles ….If persons moving, phone hands over from one cell site to another …

Judge asks about work experience – Worked for over 10 yrs with Orange – multi national mobile operator – bigger than DIGICEL …Lebanon, France, UK, Dom Rep.

With DIGI – in 31 islands/ countries – Caribbean, Central America n the pacific ..

END of exam – in – chief by prosecutor Jeremy Palmer

Cross examination by. Miguel Lorne – lawyer for Shawn Storm starts here

Lorne- you are from Lebanon. You know about Gaza?
Ques – Gaza in Palestine.

Lorne – you support Gaza?

(Court chuckles, Prosecutor on the basis of relevance, Lorne moves on comfortable that his joke was received by some)

Q- can there cloning of say the IMSI?

A- SIM contains number – info that gives unique identity.

Q- person can change IMSI on card
A- they can produce an exact copy of SIM if they can decode alogirtim in SIM ….IMSI is not the only code in SIM …

J- what would be missing from clone
A- I cannot speculate as I can’t clone SIM

Lorne continues – so if A has SIM, B clones…receiver  thinks he’s getting message from A but it’s really from B…
A – yes only one can work on system at same time ….

Q- IMEI can be clone
A- we don’t talk about IMEI In cloning. We say hacking
L- oh it can be hacked (emphasizes hacked)

Q- similarly to IMSI, IMEI is like a finger print, like a chassis number

(Lorne mumbles to himself whether the witness would understand chassis number)
A- yes like a chassis number that in the card
Q- so IMEI when hacked by B…and sends message to C, can be done and C receives believing he’s receiving message from A
A- the receiver never seems the IMEI…

But it can work…
Q- u know about Celebrite co that makes diff system
A- no
Q- it’s a company that makes system u can attach to phones etc
A- not familiar with that tech
Lorne- in Ja u have to learn fast u know…we have all kinds of things here (witness stares at Lorne)
Q- you heard of spoof…word in technology system
A- heard more about it in IP. I have heard it in IP world…
Q- have u heard method of taking id from A…by B who sends message to C to make it seems it’s coming from A
A- yes …

Lorne- So in closing Mr Assad and we thank you for coming – ur company and the records u produce u cannot say as a result of cloning n spoofing ur company only gets what it records thru system
J- I don’t understand
Witness -me neither

(Court chuckles)
Q- your records in this case sent to police and from which police produce report ….

judge- how must he know that

Lorne- are u aware that from your records police produce report
A- I assume so, I am not familiar withs the case
Q-no report from police shown to you to verify
A- no report has been shown to me by police ….

Lorne ends Christian Tavares- Finson begins

Q- what is the work of the engineers
A- Engineers come in contact with info then mediation
Q- is that the process
A- it is fully automated sir…engineers don’t touch system …mediation is also automated
Q- explain mediation
A- CDR is encrypted …comes out of MSC – main switch …cannot be exploited. It translates CDR from encrypted form to a form understandable by the billing system …
Q- that is done automated
A- yes.
Q- explain term Azimuth….
A- it’s the direction of the antenna in lay man’s terms
Q- and I take it 1 of these three antaneea that prop up on the cell site
A- yes
Q- do directions change
A- could be optimized
Q- why
A- to provide better coverage
Q- and that is something you would have a record of
A- not kept long term….weeks but not months….
Q- what about CDRs
A- we have those for yrs
Q- can u explain to us how important it is to note specifically location of cell site to recovery of info
A- cell sites are fixed, they don’t change…based on towers and had fixed coordinates
Q- how important is azimuth to cell site coverage
A- important in some cases, in others not
Q- what cases is it important
A- cases where cells are close together.
Q- what radio frequency DIGICEL at
A – 900 MHZ for 2 g; 850 for 3 g; 1800 MHz for s complement of 3 G and 1900 MHz for CDMA
Q- which gives better coverage in or outdoor
A- low bands – 900 and 850
Q- are u aware that DIGI database has previously been broken into?
A- what database
Q- the DIGi database that has CDR
A- no database contains CDRs..CDRs are contained in file ..
Q-are u aware that files containing CDRs were hacked into
A- no
Q- aware of hacking into text messages
A – I am aware that our dealer channel database has been compromised once
Q- I am going to suggest more than once people have hacked into your systems

(Tavares Finson turns up the decibel when making this suggestion. Witness remains calm)
A- can you tell me specifics
Q- are you aware of any case in court about that matter
A- I am aware of a case against Phillipots Martin
Q- can u tell us the details
A- i don’t know the details.  Mr Joe Simmonds deals with those matters

Q- so this question would be best answered by  Mr. Simmonds

A- yes. He would be best

End of Christian Tavares Finson’s cross exam

Piers Rodgers cross exam begins – lawyer for Shane Williams
Q-what is a dealer channel
A- dealer channel is an entire system that feeds into DIGI
Q- CDRs are kept how
A- on computers- discs, storage ….
Q- your systems are designed for a 35km range
A- no…
Judge –  just a min..
Rodgers continues – have u very said to anyone …cover providing can cell site can vary…typically in a 35km line of sight…(emphasizes ‘typically in a 35km’)
A- line of sight- (witness emphasizes ‘line of sight’)
Q- truth is 1 cell site can actually cover in optimal circumstances cover 35km
A- in special solution yes but ours cannot. Only one of our site in Jamaica can do that. It’s on the sea and shoots signal …I cannot now remember the name of that site

Judge is slow in writing and asks witness to hold on.
Rodgers continues – (to witness) let me help you…Pedro cays?
A- yes
Q-did your statement by saying typically 35km line of site …did u use the word typically?
A- I don’t recall
Rodgers asks witness to look at his statement. Witness looks.
Rodgers reads sentence from witness statement …depending on the…and asks witness whether he said those words
A – it’s written so I used it…
Q- you agree typically is opposite of one which stands out…
A- yes
Q- u would hardly describe 1 working cell site as being typical
A- no
Q- anyone spoke to u about stmt
A-yes. And one other person called me yesterday…
Rodgers – oh someone else called you? (raised curious tone here…like aha!)
A-  Tom Tavares Finson called me …

(Court erupts in laughter)
Q- DIGI carries a BB service
Q- info carried by BB is encrypted
Q- would u be able to give any data about that data
A- what data?
lawyer explains
A- no …message is encrypted
Q- who oversees BB service
Q- if you want a pique…they can give u
A- we don’t usu want a pique
A – I am not familiar with that process
Q- u opeate a commercial enetrrprise
Q- ur system is a billing oriented system
A-I have a problem saying billing as billing is for post paid and we have prepaid customers.
Q- system is not designed to track down n look into people’s messages
No…the law enforcement systems look into that…
Q- when a cell phone registers at a cell site at start of call n person moves out of range does your C DR pick up next cell site
A- no
Q- once again that’s because u r only concerned with your revenue
Q- is it possible for a person in one cell site to register on a cell site farther away…
Answers starts with a question from witness – He’s directly in a house below and he makes call on another cell site…that is potentially Possible….if obstacle Blocks the closer cell site
Q- I am going to go there just hold on..
A – it will pick up best signal
Q- and best signal might not be closest
A – correct

End of Piers Rodgers. Start of cross exam by lawyer for Andre St. John

Q- if I say the system was compromised in Aug…u wouldn’t know
A – I don’t know….

End of cross. Start of lawyer for Kahira Jones who says she has only one question – turns out to be two.

Q- If I clone Mr. Rodgers’ phone, Mr. Rodgers would bear that cost?
A – yes
Q- so phone would show that Mr. Rodgers made call
A- yes

End of cross examination. No re- examination from the prosecutor

Judge – Mr. Taylor (lead prosecutor Jeremy Taylor)- what’s the position for Monday, December 16, 2013.

Jeremy Taylor – voir dire (trial within a trial where judge will decide whether certain evidence is to be admitted) continues on Monday so Tuesday would be good for the jury to return.

Judge to jury- it appears we will not complete case before onset of holidays. Likely that we may be adjourning on Friday of next week for a date to resume next yr!
One suggestion is that we recommence on 30th Dec…or we recommence after new yr …and start 2 nd Jan, 2014.

Christian Tavares Finson – from day 1 we were concerned about when we would close

Judge – I am aware and that is why I now want the jury to think about the dates and come back with suggestions …

End of proceedings – Friday, December 13, 2013


About emilyshields

Attorney-at-Law, Partner -Gifford Thompson & Shields; Broadcast Journalist; Host of RJR's Hotline - www.rjr94fm.com; Gunner Twitter- @emilymshields
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5 Responses to Kartel trial – my verbatim notes

  1. Thanks for the update on the case Emily! Although some parts were still unclear to me, the last two cross examinations tied it up nicely. Only a smart journalist would know what to as some serious POTHOLES are dugged in this “murder” trial.

    I hope you see this comment because I can’t see your tweets anymore 😦 sigh


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