A Taste of the Vybz Kartel Trial live and by Twitter…

Following the Vybz Kartel murder trial live and on Twitter.

Vybz vs. Kartel: Defending the Controversial Dancehall Star

So I finally made it to the Vybz Kartel Murder Trial this week. Jamaican DJ Kartel and his four co-accused are charged with the murder of Clive Williams aka Lizard, an associate who apparently borrowed two guns from the DJ and was subsequently unable to return them. It is alleged that in retaliation he was murdered by the DJ and his accomplices. In an unprecedented move Kartel and company have been held without bail for two and a half years, while rumours have swirled that the Police had incontrovertible evidence of Lizard’s murder at the hands of Kartel and his friends (despite the fact that to this day Lizard’s body has not been found). The evidence was said to be in the form of text messages, voice messages and videos found on cell phones belonging to the DJ that were taken into custody by the Police when he was arrested on 29 September 2011. There was also a series of text messages sent by Lizard Williams to his girlfriend saying that he feared for his life and begging her to inform the police.

Although some people, like my friend Peter Dean Rickards, remain skeptical of such evidence (“If someone preppin’ to murder me the last thing I’m going to be doing is sending txt messages…maybe I’m different,” he tweeted and “1) we’re talking about Jamaica here 2) no matter where it is, if you are looking at someone getting ready to kill you…do you send txt messages or do something a little more urgent?”) quite a few people have made up their minds that the entertainer is guilty of the crimes he’s accused of. So much for the accused being considered innocent until proven guilty.

Even though a couple of journalists, Emily Crooks for example, have been expertly tweeting the proceedings each day I wanted to observe the trial live and direct for myself. I particularly wanted to see Kartel’s defence lawyer Tom Tavares-Finson in action but as luck would have it I picked a day when he had just finished cross examining a key witness and wasn’t scheduled to be on. Not only that, it turned out to be the very day when the proceedings were so dull and plodding that Kartel himself fell asleep after lunch (see Emily’s tweets below).

Nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed being in court on Wednesday to witness Pierre Rodgers (co-accused Sean Storm’s attorney) systematically pick apart Detective Sergeant Patrick Linton’s testimony. Linton is the former head of the Cybercrimes Unit who downloaded and presented the evidence collected from Kartel’s phones. While waiting for a legal friend to arrive to take me into Courtroom 2 where the Kartel trial was scheduled, I bucked up Supreme Court Judge Bryan Sykes who assured me that I needed no such escort, having a right as a member of the public to attend the trial. That may be true in theory, but in reality entry wasn’t easy.

Had I not been escorted by a legal heavyweight the four heavy set plainclothes policemen outside the courtroom who interrogated us while barring entry would have intimidated me enough to make me leave. Having finally breached the hallowed theatre of justice I was surprised at how small the courtroom was, and intimate; i found myself seated about six feet away from Kartel and within spitting distance of the jury. The DJ wore a shocking pink shirt and orange tie and held a matching orange handkerchief that he occasionally squeezed or twisted in his hands.

I don’t know if there were any other members of the public there, the seats were mostly taken up by plain clothes policeman nattily dressed in suits with different coloured ties and lawyers in their John Crow like robes. Not all the lawyers present were involved with the case, many of them were attending court cases of their own and slipped in and out when time permitted. Legatus Maximus, whose live tweets from the trial i had followed the day before turned out to be one such lawyer.

For those interested in getting a taste of this case and the courtroom action I’ve assembled below a series of tweets from the account of the person tweeting on behalf of Vybz Kartel under the twitter handle @Iamthekartel, followed by some of @Emilynationwide and Legatus Maximus’s tweets capturing some of the action. The main strategy of the Defence this week has been to shake the credibility of Det Sergeant Linton by suggesting that the evidence under his custody was tampered with and unreliable. For a verbatim transcript of the chilling voice notes presented as evidence by the police and much more see Emily Crooks’s blog thecrooksofthematter.

  1. iamthekartel
    Remember dat Babylon have a lot riding on dis case dont xpect them to do the decent thing n admit there is not enuff of a case to continue
  2. Moonie deh home already. One more soon fwd not guilty anyday now. 1 by 1 d whole Gaza crew a fwd home.
  3. Even when not performing, vybzkartel get the most fwd at Sting. Think him need to charge 4 using his name for a Dj to get a fwd
  4. 2014, the yr of freedom.
  5. Incarcerated in 2011.Still gettin nominated 4 awards in 2014!No other human being on the planet can claim that.That is y dem fear d worlboss
  6. 2014 is a landmark year. If allowed the system will pass laws to kill dancehall. Bare jazz fest and Carnival n maybe even some opera fi we
  7. The case is the Crown vs Kartel; no 1 shud b shocked that a ruling by a judge wud favor the CROWN .But all that matters is d jury’s decision
  8. @Warren_Weir This is y d boss sey @Warren_Weir a 1 of d realest yute bout d place. Waterford, cbar n then intl greatness-same path as d boss
  9. An accused by any other name than Adidja Palmer would be home now based on the strange occurrences in this case. pic.twitter.com/9rqHRBMKJI
  10. Warning, this is not a practical joke. This really happened  http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=50459 …. Babylon inform n investigate the passing of a sweetie.
  11. Downtown roads bloc 4 Tessanne official Homecoming tonite.Bigup Tessanne.Wonda how d road dem a aguh stay wen d worlboss ready fi drive home
  12. Stop try blame everything that hapn bad inna Jamaica pon d Gaza. Yes, we confess to mek nuff man gyal give dem bun wid we but a jus we that
  13. “What you have brought to Court is rubbish!!” says the Defence Attorney to the Police in the witness box. Finally sum1 calls a spade a spade
  14. How many ways can Babylon b wrong? Wrong house,wrong dna,wrong name, wrong CD,wrong date of birth,wrong spelling,MUST equal WRONGLY ACCUSED
  15. Not much longer now Gazaarmy. Time running out pon dem. Expect dem to get more desperate n tunup d story telln. But the jury no foolfool
  16. Evidence is like an opinion. One is free to present what they want the jury to believe. Jury will hear both sides n decide what is real.
  17. Back to Court. Few days more before the defence get their turn.
  18. Fair trial includes only using evidence that is in no way exposed to possible tampering.Cuz of Addi d worl see how JA courts work. #fairness
  19. Gaza Fans. Take this seriously. As certain things in this case is clearly being exposed anything name or support Gaza is a target.
  20. From Kentucky Kid to Agana Barnett to Michael Gayle to this. This case shows wat Ghetto yutes have gone thru with d Ja injustice system
  21. Wrong date, wrong machine, wrong terminology, improper chain of custody, no gloves, no dna, no fingerprint – n d man dem still inna jail????
  22. Gaza Army beg u pray fi every ghetto yute inna jail goin to face JA injustice system. From 1865 to Jan 31, 2014 – no justice fi ghetto yutes
  23. Length of court proceedings forces #Kartel to nod off in court. Judge asks ‘accused Palmer is he still before court’ #KartelMurderTrial
  24. #Kartel‘s head was down on his knee making it difficult for the judge to see him. The prosecutor who was on his feet replied…
  25. Taylor – ‘My Lord he is either praying or sleeping’ forcing police in court to awake #Kartel from his afternoon snooze
  26. #KartelMurderTrial updates coming soon. However lawyer for #Kartel, Tom Tavares Finson has just informed me his expert has been detained
  27. Breaking-Phillipots Martin, who’s been charged w hacking DIGI data base is reportedly the expert used by #Kartel‘s lawyers
  28. Major showdown today between bench & bar ie judge and lawyer for #Kartel, Tom Tavares Finson #KartelMurderTrial
  29. Finson objected to Sgt Linton reading a message to jury. He said message read was diff fr what court heard when jury was out today
  30. Finson- ‘My Lord, that is not what was shown when jury was out’ Taylor (prosecutor) ‘this is exactly as in original form’
  31. Finson-‘My Lord, I wish for u to address the jury on the objection I have made and make a ruling’ Judge- ‘I have made a ruling’
  32. Finson- ‘And what is your ruling ‘ Judge – ‘That you are to SIT’ The melanin deficient Finson turned crimson. #JudgeDread
  33. #courtroomchronicles R: on 3rd when u 1st saw SD card did u mention it in ur report? L : no I didn’t. R: isn’t SD card important detail?
  34. #courtroomchronicles R: aren’t u supposed to put all the juicy details in your report? Is it in your statement? L: no I didn’t put it there
  35. #courtroomchronicles R: did u make mention of seeing SD card on the 14th? L: no sir. R: but the 14th is when u started extraction ? L: yes
  36. #courtroomchronicles R: but u made no mention of SD card that day! L: I already cleared that up sir.
  37. #courtroomchronicles R: in failing to mention SD card did u depart from best practice a? L: no counsel.
  38. #courtroomchronicles R: do u agree with me that there is no chain of custody with your SD card? L: no sir. ..
  39. #courtroomchronicles good cross by Rodgers. Devoid of drama …but extremely methodological and effective. He is focused and quite competent
  40. #courtroomchronicles Linton is visibly not as confident as he was yesterday. He no longer sits upright ..but is bent over. Smile forced ..
  41. #courtroomchronicles Rodgers has him against the ropes with the SD card …it really ought to hav been mentioned as it stores much of data
  42. #courtroomchronicles it will be up to Taylor when he re-examines Linton to get evidence out that L could not have put images n vid on phone

Author: Annie Paul

writer, editor and avid tweeter anniepaulose@gmail.com

1 thought on “A Taste of the Vybz Kartel Trial live and by Twitter…”

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