Supreme Court judge, Lennox Campbell, has asked the jury in the Vbyz Kartel murder trial to look at the text messages to see if they support the evidence of the prosecution’s main witness.
He made the request as he reviewed the evidence of Detective Sergeant Patrick Linton, former head of the Cybercrimes Unit.
The judge said the defence was saying that there was manipulation, tampering, and fabrication of evidence to secure a conviction.
Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer; fellow entertainer Shawn Campbell, also called Shawn Storm; Kahira Jones; Shane Williams; and André St John have been on trial since November last year for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams of Waterford, St Catherine.
The Crown, represented by prosecutors Jeremy Taylor and Leighton Morris, is alleging that Williams was beaten to death on August 16, 2011, at Kartel’s Havendale house over two missing guns.
Campbell said the defence had suggested to Linton that someone else had access to the phone and that he put material on the phone. He said it was the function of the jurors to determine whether someone interfered with the phone while it was in the custody of the police.
gap in chain of custody
The judge said the gap in the chain of custody is like a relay in which the baton has to be passed from one hand to the next. He added that if the baton falls, you pick it up and run, but the jury had to decide in a chain of custody if someone passed the baton in the same condition it was in when it fell.
Campbell said the reason for cross-examination was to test the credibility of the witnesses.
Yesterday, the judge told the jurors to look at the test message – from a phone attributed to Kartel – which read that Lizard had been chopped up “fine fine”.
“Do you think based on the language, the author must be of the view that Lizard was not going to return? Is this being concocted and put into someone’s phone to cast aspersion on them to get them convicted?” Campbell asked.
Tom Tavares-Finson, who is representing Kartel, reminded the judge that the message was put in a week after it was in the custody of the police.
The judge went on to say that the text message spoke of disposing of Williams and the author must have known it was unlikely that Lizard would surface.
The judge will continue to review Linton’s evidence when the trial resumes today in the Home Circuit Court.