The search for Lizard – #KartelMirderTrial

Deputy Superintendent of police, DSP Vernal Thompson continues his final round of examination in chief led by Jeremy Taylor.

Here are my verbatim notes. Here he speaks to the search for the body of Clive Lloyd Williams otherwise called Lizard


The police says several bodies were found over the period the team searched for the body of Clive Lloyd Williams. He has not been found.

23 were found bodies found

Judge – how many were buried
A- they were not buried as such they were under debris and in advanced state of decomposition and there was other information regarding the body of Lizard

Taylor asks- did you do any search at Swallowfield Avenue.
A- yes. I employed the services of search centre of Jamaica Constabulary Force. They dug up the rear of 7 Swallowfield ave. Nothing was found.
A- After demolition of part of the house at Swallowfield, I also received information regarding cremation of the body. But evidence was not sufficient to allow me to conduct searches of the place so named.

Pierre Rogers who represents Kahira Jones objects to question and answer – The information he is giving is prejudicial and without any probative value at all and in the area of hearsay.

Judge asks Jeremy Taylor, prosecutor to be cautious in this area.

Q- you said you saw posters and smelt Fabuloso

Answer here was unclear to me but DSP Thompson continued…
A- by virtue of an impression on a door. It’s type of door that has a ply door covering. A piece of outer layer of door was torn out and it had an outline in my mind of a boat
(He’s here describing a door on the house at 7 Swallowfield Ave owned by Kartel and shown in video in court)

Judge – did you see any pitbull there on any of your visit
A- no My Lord.

Witness shown exhibit to look at the room which he said he saw.
DSP Thompson identifies room in video in which the man with pick axe was scene on video in court. He says that’s the room which had fragrance of Fabuloso and a foul odor and the door was smashed with marks looking like a boat
End of his examination in chief

The father and son team of Tom and Christain Tavares-Finson represent Adija ‘Vybz Kartel’ Palmer Following the examination in chief of Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP Vernal Thompson of the St. Andrew North police, the younger Tavares-Finson cross examined DSP Thompson.


Here are my verbatim notes of the cross examination

Christian Tavares Finson
Q- in late 2011 you were what then
A- Detective Inspector of Police and Acting DSP in charge of crime

Q- police officer for 32 yrs
A- June coming

Q- longer than I have been alive
A- seems so

Q- you act in various capacities in JCF
A- didn’t say that

Christian- follow me man. I am not trying to trick you

Q-you are a very experienced police officer
A- yes

Q- not only in policy
A- as it relates to criminal investigations

Q- you are the investigating officer, IO in this matter
A- yes

Q- as IO explain role of IO
A- role in any criminal matter is to ensure that all physical evidence is secured for purposes of court by employing all possible resource available at the time and to ensure that the investigation is done professionally and transparently with a view to unfolding truth

Q- I like that aspect of your answers about truth. If I were to simplify what you just said would I be correct in saying your role would be to detect crime, enforce laws in interest of Justice

A- exactly

Q – In fact as IO if you unearth some evidence that would assist an accused you wouldn’t hide it
A- no. As the intention is to uncover

Q- if things said were not true would you come to court and say it was not true
A- yes. If I realize that after

Q- why is it you have your notebook today
A- I sought permission from the court

Q- no man. May be you don’t understand me – what is the importance of having note book in course of investigation
A- to record factual occurrences in course of investigation. I can use it as a reservoir and later to refresh my memory.

Q- after you proceeded with your investigation you made jottings in your notebook
A- not specifically this notebook.

Q- so that now for example when you are required to come to court and you are asked question you can simple open the book and show us.
A- with the permission of the court.

Q- when a person is charged they are to be brought before court as soon as practicable. In this case, you attended court on a number of dates not always in this building – Half Way tree…bail application made. How many time in this matter prior to commencement of trial have you been to court
A- can’t recall

Q-But it was on multiple occasions
A- what you mean by multiple

Q- certainly more than 5 times
A- yes

Q- you write it in your notebook
A- in my diary. My diary is for dates, notebook for notes

Q- and you write down the dates
A- yes

Q- you outlined to us a situation where a team was assembled from different branches in JCF
A- yes

Q- you indicated you were present at a number of tasking meetings
A- yes

Q- what was role of the flying squad
A- role of Flying squad is to physical arrest of Kartel, St. John and Shane Williams

Q- quite an important role and that might explain why SSP Cornwall Bigga Ford was asked to give a statement
A- yes

Q- does it surprise you that Bigga Ford lost his notebook
A- not surprised. Concerns me

Q- going to ask you something you see sir.
Witness shown something to have a read

(My note- Kartel sits the dock with his co-accused. He wears a purple suit today.Fortis might not be quick to make that shout this time…my mind roams)

Q – you indicate that at some at tasking meetings you had ACP Ealan Powell
A- yes

Q- were you the one who told him that there’s video of men murdering Clive Williams on it
A- no Sir

Q- you are aware that this was said in court as you were there
A – I am not aware

Q- you are aware of the Observer article (this article was shown to the witness) saying that and you have not come out to clarify
A- no

Q- who told the court that
A- I don’t know. First time I am seeing that

Q- have you never been in court when Defence lawyer was asking prosecution to produce such a document
A- no. First time I am in court

Q- OK and you are the IO
A- first I am seeing this as well

Taylor (prosecutor) objects – is my Friend reading from a documentation that is not in evidence
Christian – yes I am. And it may very well be

DSP Thompson continues – I am aware that media carried that information. It’s not true in my investigation that a body was found in Vybz Kartel”s house
Q- if you had been aware of this article,  What would you have done

Taylor (prosecutor)- what is basis of the questioning. News reports are not evidence in this case.

Christian – this officer indicated that if anything were ever published that was prejudicial to the case he would do something about it.
Taylor- my friend is asking for an opinion not relevant to the case. What he might need to do is call the journalist
Chtistian – I might very well do that

Q- do you agree it would be prejudicial
A- it would be if not true

Q- you ever hear that DNA of Lizard found at Swallowfield
A- no

Q- that is not true
A- no it’s not

Q- remind me of your divisions
A – ((DSP Thompson listed many divisions here)

Q- in 2011, how many fire your division experienced
A- can’t recall.

Q- how many reported
A- none

Christian – That of ofcourse is strange.

Now to 7 Swallowfield Avenue
Q- what was first day you went there
A- 22 Aug, 2011 at about 1PM

Q- how many police under your command
A- now 36 limited staff.

Q – what about blue seam police
A- not under my command

Q- pls outline techniques you employed to secured alleged crime scene on Aug 22, 2011
A- I never employed any technique on 22nd. I did so on the 25th

Q – so you just went about your business after the 22nd suh
A- no Sir. I made some enquiries about identification.

Q- who did you go there with on the 25th of August
A- Mendez, Wilson, Smith went on the 25th.

Q-  nobody from CyberCimes and Forensics Unit went on that date
A- no

Q- outline the technique you used to secure the premises on 25 August 2011.
A- identified premises of alleged scene of homicide directing caution tape, giving instructions to operations officer to have periodicals checks made at premises during my investigation

Q- you send man there when nobody wasn’t there
A- don’t understand question
Q- so a jus a piece a plastic tape you put deh fi mark di place
A- don’t describe it as a piece of tape. It is crime scene tape

Q- what was tape made out of
A- plastic. But your tone suggested it was just a piece of plastic

Q- did you lock up the place
A- no. Never had those resources

Q- a padlock sir
A- never had those resources

Q- What happened on the 25th
A- went back with a team of detectives for my office – Reynolds, White and Pickersgill

Q- When did the persons from forensics go there
A- Aug 29, 2011 at approximately 10am I accompanied Sharon Bryson and a team of 4 to this premises

Q- indicate dates that you accompanied persons from any of other branches at that premises
A- Williams from CFCU sometime in August 2011

Q- what you did
A – showed him premised for him to do cell site analysis

Witness shown video with house on screen
Q- would it surprise you that Mr. Williams said this is where you showed him burnt out house
A- don’t know what is that

At this point a very lenghtly process took place between witness and attorney regarding the exact location of 7 Swallowfield Avenue.

DSP Thompson when asked to point out the location on the map said – I can take you there practically. This wasn’t prepared by me so can’t show you. Family Pride going down turn right. I cannot identify the place here
Q- but just walk with me nuh Mr. Thompson
A- I can take you there

(Courtroom laughter)

DSP Thompson- I have been in cases where I have taken prosecutor and Defence to crime scene. You get a better understanding of it that way. I learnt about this place in 2011 and this is 2014 and there are many places in my division. I showed Mr. Williams the house, I never showed him this picture or graph or map.

Christian continued to press about location of the house

DSP Thompson- I told you I don’t know about this map! That is not my work.
Q- you are aware that application was made in chambers for bail of Kartel 26 in June 2013
A- I wasn’t present

Q- you were made aware of bail application
A- yes

Q- bail application on behalf of Mr. Palmer. Do you know Wilford Agate, SSP in charge of invest at Central Intelligence Branch. Are you aware that he indicated number of cell phones were taken from the cell of Mr. Palmer
A- I am aware

Q- and you know that was a lie
A- I am not aware of that

Q- cell phones taken
A- I heard cell phones were taken
Taylor – My Lord where is all this hearsay going? IT is in admissible. (Taylor is flustered now)

Christian – I am suggesting the purpose of the report was to prejudice bail
A- I had nothing to do with that. Court decides bail not me

Q- are your aware that Mr. Palmer made report to INDECOM
A- not aware

Q- can you confirm or deny presence of cell phones
A- Can neither confirm nor deny cell phones in Kartel’s cell

Judge – why is it relevant to this line of cross examination. Mr. Linton has given a statement. Did you ask him about it. I am not going allow any more question on bail unless you can demonstrate relevance

Christian – My Lord it is part of the conspiracy
Judge – ask him about the conspiracy

Q- are you aware that any phone was taken from Mr. Palmer’s cell

A- I never read it. My Lord was speaking. I can’t be reading and speaking when My Lord is speaking

Judge – is this officer one of the conspirators
Christian- that  is what I am going to ask him

DSP Thompson reads document
Q- you know what INDECOM is Sir
A- yes

Q- you know if phone were taken or not from his cell
A- no

Q- you contacted persons from Forencis unit.
A – as a professional, my duty to ensure investigation is transparent and secure best possible resource
The role of the unit is to conduct forensic exam for all seen of crime to secure potential evidence

Q- They are highly trained in forensic science.
A – It is my belief

Q- And those are the persons who would collect sample, photographs etc of a particular scene…
A- Yes

Q- And Mrs Brydosn said CPU took her there
A- Yes I took her there

Q- And she is one of the highly trained individuals who come to collect evidence
A- Yes

Q- And Mr. Brynson said nothing about foul odor
A- Yes My Lord I was there when she said it

Q- Mrs Brydson said nothing about smelling a foul odor In court
A- I couldn’t say, I was not in court. She told me that on that day

Christian – I am suggesting she said nothing in court about a foul odor
A- I was not here. She said it on the 29th. I have it in a dict…

Taylor- You solicited this answer from witness. Know hwat you asking him.

Q- You had persons excavating the scene and they found nothing
A- Yes. And they found nothing

Q- I am suggesting that no less than on 2 occasions you afield to secure the alleged crime scene
A- I never failed to secure it. It is my duty to secure seen in its natural form. No I don’t fail

Q – The crime tape was torn and interior burnt and it never occurred to you to put two young constables there
A- I brought that to attention of senior officers. The resources were limited.
Christian – No further questions



About emilyshields

Attorney-at-Law, Partner -Gifford Thompson & Shields; Broadcast Journalist; Host of RJR's Hotline -; Gunner Twitter- @emilymshields
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