Not another year

PARISH Court Judge Maxine Ellis on Tuesday insisted that it is about time an end be brought to the case involving Livingston Cain, the juror in the Vybz Kartel murder trial who was accused of attempting to bribe another juror.

Cain was charged with perverting the course of justice in 2014. He allegedly offered a female juror $500,000 to return a not guilty verdict in the murder case which was brought against dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel, whose given name is Adidja Palmer; Shawn Campbell; Kahiro Jones; and Andre St John for killing Clive “Lizard” Williams at a house in Havendale, St Andrew, in August 2011.

The matter has dragged on for eight years.

“I would prefer finishing this matter in this calendar year so I don’t have to make another anniversary. I have now set the matter for summation. All things being equal, this matter is going to be completed on December 13,” Ellis said.

King’s Counsel Valerie Neita Robertson, in representing Cain, raised a number of issues in court on Tuesday, questioning why the matter hadn’t been thrown out long ago, and citing numerous holes in the case.

She claimed that her client is in this position because he indicated that he would return a not guilty verdict and suggested that other jurors do the same. It is on this basis, she believes the case was cooked up against him.

“She alleges that he offered to give her $500,000 to return a verdict of not guilty. She did a first recording of a conversation between them which wasn’t clear. There was a conversation and she interprets it by saying, ‘So you want me to influence them fi leggo di man dem and den we talk? Mi nuh understand da piece deh’. All of this is coming from her. Based on the recording that was not clear, she went back to Mr Cain and renewed the conversation. She said ‘what is in it for me, Mr Cain? Weh you ago get $500,000 from and you always say you nuh have no money?’, all of what would amount to corroboration.

The King’s Counsel insisted that credibility was the main issue and that the Crown failed to discharge its verdict in respect of the material aspects of their case.

“She said she recorded it on her phone and because she didn’t have any data, she sent the recording by MMS to a friend and that friend e-mailed it back to her. That was the crux of the case. From the beginning I wondered why, since that was the crux of the case, the prosecution did not produce any evidence from Digicel of the presence or absence of MMS messages. This friend who she sent this material to is unidentified and I call her a ghost or secret friend. She never came to give evidence in a matter that turned on what she would have received and what she did with it. The absence of this witness arouses suspicion and erodes the witness’ credibility,” Neita Robertson said.

Added Neita Robertson: “The second issue which is of great concern was the availability of the phone which was suppose to be an exhibit in the case. It has to be seen because it is the source and it has to be retained, so that the authenticity can be verified. If you don’t have the phone then you cannot have access to the forensic files. Not one prosecution witnesses could assist the court by saying who gave her the phone and why they gave her back and she couldn’t say which police officer gave her. All of those are issues which erode the credibility of the Crown’s case. I have never been in a matter in my 44 years where matters like these are left so hanging so that they put the prosecution at a disadvantage. The police were obviously doing their own thing.”

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