Vybz Kartel’s lawyer complains about delays as Christmas nears

Vybz Kartel’s lawyer complains about delays as Christmas nears

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

Strong objections were raised yesterday by defence lawyer Tom Tavares Finson, who is representing entertainer Vybz Kartel, when lead prosecutor Jeremy Taylor announced that no witnesses would be available for the day.”I find it very unacceptable,” Tavares Finson said, pointing out that there were only a few days left before Christmas. He said the defence lawyers and the jurors had families and obligations to meet.

Taylor had informed the court that the policeman from the Cybercrime Unit who was testifying last week in an in camera hearing could not attend yesterday as something tragic had happened and that he had tried to get another witness but without success, so the case had to be adjourned for the day. Taylor said the witness would be available today to continue his evidence in camera.

Defence wants speedy trial

The disclosure prompted Tavares Finson to make a special plea to the judge for the case to move along. He pointed out that the defence had requested time to interview two expert witnesses, but in the interest of time and in getting everybody out of court before Christmas, the defence had decided not to go ahead with the interview.

Justice Lennox Campbell, who is presiding at the trial in the Home Circuit Court, informed the 12-member jury that something personal had happened to the witness, who needed time to time to deal with the consequences. The judge asked Taylor to make another attempt to get another witness and adjourned court for 15 minutes.Vybz-Kartel

On resumption, Ephieum Allen, deputy director for immigration services at the Passport Immigration and Citizens Agency, was called to testify. He said his duties included travel history checks for people who travelled in and out of Jamaica, updating the border-management database, which captures information relating to all persons arriving and departing the airports and seaports.

He said Superintendent Vernon Thompson gave him the date of birth for one Clive Lloyd Williams and requested him to do a travel history, but no record was found that the person had ever travelled. He said the border-management system was introduced in 2005.

Allen said under cross-examination that he knew that persons obtained passports in other persons’ names. He said persons left the country yearly without their information being recorded on the system, but it would be difficult to give a figure. In response to a question from attorney-at-law Everton Dewar, the witness said he had heard that an artiste, Busy Signal, was travelling overseas under a different name.

Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, is charged jointly with fellow entertainer Shawn Campbell, also known as Shawn Storm, Kahira Jones, Shane Williams, and André St John for the August 16, 2011, alleged murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams. Justice Campbell told the jurors to return to court tomorrow.