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February 20, 2014
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Crowd gathers at Court
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator


Police personnel stop pedestrians on Barry Street, Kingston, from getting close to the Supreme Court yesterday. - Norman Grindley

A large crowd gathered yesterday close to the Supreme Court in Kingston as they expected that a verdict would be reached in the case against popular entertainer Vybz Kartel.

However, the case against the deejay will apparently continue into next week.

Justice Campbell, who last Friday had told the 11-member jury that the trial would end this week, told them yesterday that he had to revise his estimation as it now looks like the case will end next week

The crowd forced the police to beef up security around the Supreme Court.

Kartel's lawyer, Tom Tavares-Finson, raised concerns that family members of the accused were prevented from coming to court because of the beefed up security.

Justice Lennox Campbell said he did not know if the police had any intelligence as nothing was said to him.

"I don't know the reason for the cordon, but what I wish to say is that Jamaican citizens have the right to the court, unless the security forces have some reason that they would perhaps, interfere with the smooth running of the courts," the judge said to a senior police officer, who had been summoned in relation to the complaint.

The judge asked that consideration be given to the rights of the citizens.

Later in the afternoon, Tavares-Finson told the court that two senior police officers assured him that there was a breakdown in communication and the family members of the accused men will be allowed to attend court.

Jeremy Taylor, senior deputy director of public prosecutions, also continued his address to the jury yesterday. Taylor asked the jurors to reject the address by Tavares-Finson that they were in a moral dilemma based on the evidence led by the Crown. He told them to approach the case with balance.

'locked' gun

He reminded the jurors of the character evidence in relation to Kartel and one of his co-accused, Shawn Campbell, otherwise called Shawn Storm. Taylor told the jurors they heard evidence that the alleged murder victim had a matter in the Gun Court for which he was on bail, and that he had 'locked' gun for Kartel. He said the prosecution witness had told them that he was a member of Gaza who 'locked' guns on behalf of Kartel.

"They were locking guns on behalf of Palmer, so where is Kartel's good character?" asked the prosecutor.

Kartel's sister had given character evidence for him, but Taylor said there was loyalty in blood. He asked the jurors to consider that in all of Kartel's 38 years, he could not find someone outside of his family to speak to his good character. He also noted that no member of Gaza had come to speak on his behalf. Taylor will continue his address today.

Kartel and Campbell are charged jointly with Kahira Jones, Shane Williams, and André St John for the August 16, 2011, murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams.

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