Wednesday 21 November, 2018

Defence lawyers in Kartel case confident with appeal, await decision

Defence attorneys on Tuesday expressed confidence that the Appeals Court will overturn the 2014 conviction of their clients, entertainer Vybz Kartel and his co-appellants, for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

“We think that there are sufficient grounds that can show that this conviction is unsafe and we express this opinion on our freedom to speak and our right as attorneys to inform the public and at all times we hold the view that the preparations done here should bear fruit,” said Attorney Bert Samuels, speaking to journalists outside the Appeals Court after hearing in the case wrapped up.

Samuels said he also felt that the matter was “a test case for police integrity and how exhibits should be handled”.

He said, “The work has been well done, I think we have gone into new areas - telephone evidence was new to this case… it has been agreed in this case that phones were being used while they should have been locked away so the protection of exhibits in the interest of the public came out of this appeal,” said Samuels.

He also argued that there was manipulation of text messages, part of which was used as main piece of evidence to convict the men. The attorney claimed that the full details of the messages were never outlined to the jury.

“We are thinking that a very important point which could be a headline point is that there are text that were sent on the phones which were not analyzed. The jury did not hear all the text that came on those phones,” Samuels said.

“They deliberately overlooked many of the text messages and calls and the law is that the defence should be have seen all the calls made on the phone,” he continued, arguing that “They just handpicked a few.”

Attorney Isat Buchanan supported the claims and said this was part of what he sought to outline in his response to the prosecution about the actual ‘chop up fine, fine’ text message and the date it was allegedly created.

“There were discrepancies within the transcript throughout that didn’t make a definitive date as to when that text was created,” Buchanan argued.

Kartel, Shawn "Shawn Storm" Campbell, Kahira Jones and Andre St John were convicted in March 2014 for the murder of their associate, Williams, at a house in Havendale, St Andrew.

President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Dennis Morrison did not indicate a specific timeline on when the panel of three justices – Morrison, Frank Williams and Patrick Brooks – will reach a decision but stated that the case will be given “some priority attention”.

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