The Vybz Kartel murder trial has been logged as one of the longest hearings in the Circuit Court.
The Gleaner’s Justice Coordinator, Barbara Gayle, has been
tracking the points of significance in the matter involving Kartel and
his four co-accused – Shawn Campbell, popularly known as ‘Shawn Storm’,
André St John; Shane Williams and Kahira Jones – are on trial for the
August 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.
During the trial, a total of 30 witnesses were called – 24 by the Crown and six by the defence.
Members of the security forces at premises of local dancehall
artiste Adidja Palmer, more popularly known as Vybz Kartel on September
30, 2011. – Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
September 30, 2011
Vybz Kartel arrested at a New Kingston hotel
October 4, 2011
Appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court, denied bail.
November 18, 2013
‘Lizard’ Williams murder trial begins in the Home Circuit Court with jury selection
November 20, 2013
Jury selection completed. Calvin Haye, fashioner designer, freed
after the Crown offered no evidence against him. Prosecution outlines
its case against Kartel and the four other accused.
1)Onika Jackson, girlfriend of Lizard Williams, testified that she
received text messages from him on August 16, 2011, that he was on his
way in a taxi to Kartel’s house and he feared for his life.
2) Williams’ sister, Stephanie Breakenridge, wept as she testified
about seeing her brother and the prosecution’s main witness in her
living room on August 14, 2011 looking as if they had seen a ghost while
sending text messages and talking on their cell phones. Admits under
cross-examination that Lizard had been charged with firearm offences.
November 21, 2013
(3) Detective Constable Averell Thomas of the Major Investigations
Task Force testifies that on August 22, 2011 he went to Swallowfield
Avenue, Havendale where, he saw what appeared to be blood stains on a
door jamb. He swabbed the area and placed crime-scene markers around the
blood stains. The swabs were taken to the government forensic
laboratory to be analysed.
(4) Deputy Superintendent Winston Henderson said following
instructions from Senior Superintendent Cornwall ‘Bigga’ Ford, the
officer in charge of the Flying Squad, he assembled a team and executed
warrants on three houses belonging to Kartel. During a search of a house
in Norbrook, the police seized 12 passports in various names. They also
went to search a house at 7 Swallowfield Avenue, Havendale but the
house was a burnt-out shell. A raid was carried out at a house in
Independence City, St Catherine, but nothing was found.
November 21 to 22, 2013
(5) Senior Supt Cornwall Ford denied suggestions from defence
lawyers that the presence of the media with cameras at Kartel’s premises
was part of a conspiracy to ensure a conviction for the entertainer. He
said he did not know how the media got there.
November 22, 2011
(6) Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police Granville Gause said on
August 24 2011, the prosecution’s main witness was brought to his
office and he was meeting him for the first time. The witness related an
account to him and he told Detective Corporal Stewart to take a
statement from him, and the witness gave the statement willingly. He
said he and a team of police went with the witness to Havendale where
the witness pointed out a house belonging to Kartel. Cross-examined, he
said the person who brought the witness to him was a paid informant, but
at the time the person brought the witness, he was not acting as a paid
November 22 to November 25, 2013
(7) Special Constable Kayan Murphy, assigned to the Flying Squad,
said on September 30, 2011, she went with a team of police personnel to
the Altamont Court Hotel, Kingston. She said she went to a room where
she saw the accused Shane Williams and Andre St John. The room was
searched and they seized several items including two mobile phones. A
BlackBerry phone was seized, and St John said he was the owner of that
phone. She admitted under cross-examination that she made a mistake when
she attempted in court to identify the accused man who handed over two
phones to her in the hotel room.
Vybz Kartel is surrounded by the police as they searched
premises belonging to him, on September 30, 2011. Ricardo Makyn/Staff
November 25, 2013
(8) Nicola Brown Baxter, government forensic analyst, said on August
29, 2011, she went to Kartel’s Havendale house and observed several
areas where fires were started as well as ignitable equipment. She said
she saw several burnt items in the house, and from her analysis, the
fire was deliberately set. Cross-examined, she said no one was at the
house when she went there.
(9) Corporal Windell Reid testified of taking a missing person
report from Lizard’s sister. He said he made calls to hospitals and
police stations, but got no useful information.
(10) Constable Adebe Pitt said he got a number of cell phones from
his superior officers and took them to the Cybercrimes Unit and got a
November 26 to 29, 2013
(11) Prosecution’s main witness outlined to the court how Shawn
Storm took him and Lizard in Needfa’s taxi to Kartel’s house in
Havendale. He said Shawn Storm never came out of the car. The witness
said while he and Lizard were in the house with Kartel and other men,
Kahira Jones held him from behind and he ran into another room. Men came
after him and before he ran from the premises, he saw Lizard lying
motionless on the floor. He said Andre St John had a building block in
his hand. He said he was able to see from the light from a cell phone in
the house. Under cross-examination, he denied writing a letter to the
Public Defender which stated that the police forced him to give a
statement. He also denied that he had seen Lizard after August 16, 2011.
November 12, 2013
(12) Government forensic analyst Sherron Brydson said her lab
received a sample from Constable Thomas. She said she went to the house
at Havendale and collected samples. A sample collected from the living
room was examined for blood and DNA analysis. She received a positive
result for blood which was human in origin and belonged to a male. There
was no body, therefore, swabs were taking from Daniel Williams, an
uncle of the alleged deceased, for analysis, but the results did not
match the sample taken from the house.
(13) Corporal Shawn Howard form Organised Crime Investigation
Division (OCID) outlined a number of items he received from Corporal
Pitt on October 3, 2011. He recorded the details of the items in a book,
and Pitt signed in the book.
December 5, 2013 to January 6, 2014
Void dire (hearing in the absence of the jury) and break for the festive season.
January 6, 2014
Trial resumes. Court receives report that during the Christmas
holidays, one of the jurors had turned up at the office of one of the
defence lawyers. The lawyer did not speak to the juror.
January 7, 2014
Justice Lennox Campbell held an inquiry in his chambers in relation
to the report. On resumption, the judge said he was firmly of the view
that what transpired would not affect the case.
Vybz Kartel arriving for court this morning. – Photo by Jermain Barnaby
January 9, 2014
(14) Corporal Heather Forrest testified of arresting Andre St John and Shane Williams at the Altamont Court Hotel.
January 9 to 13, 2014
(15) Josephs Simmonds, group business risk director for
telecommunications company Digicel, said he received a request from the
Jamaica Constabulary Force. Following the request, he provided two
company discs with data of text messages. One was a working copy for the
police labelled ‘JS2’, and the other was a sealed copy for the court,
labelled ‘JS1’. He said he handed them over to Corporal Shawn Brown.
Simmonds said of the 40 phones for which the police requested
information, none of them was “ascribed” to Kartel and his co-accused.
The disc, JS2, was tendered in evidence. The court was told that JS1,
which was the secured copy to make comparisons with the text messages
retrieved from JS2, was missing. Under cross-examination, Simmonds said
the information on JS2 could be copied and modified and he would need
JS1 to verify the information on JS2.
January 13 to 14 and January 16 to 21, 2014
(16) Corporal Shawn Brown of the Communications and Forensic Unit of
OCID introduced the text messages he retrieved from the cellular phones
on a PowerPoint presentation. He said he prepared a schedule of the
phone calls and the cell site locations. There was a message from a
phone attributed to Lizard sent to his girlfriend’s phone on August 16,
2011, pleading with her to call the police, saying: “Teecha send call
we,” and he feared for his life. There was a message at 7:08 p.m.
stating: “Please tell them that Vybz Kartel a go kill me, please baby.”
There was another text message at 7:11 p.m., stating: “Shawn can’t save
we please we in a Needfa car a drive go up there.” The last text message
from Lizard’s phone was at 7:20 p.m., in which he was telling his
girlfriend to tell his sister to call the police. There was a text
message sent on August 14, 2011 from a phone attributed to Shawn Storm
to a phone attributed to Kartel, saying: “Mi boss wi affi get back dem
ting de boss.” There were text messages allegedly sent by Shawn Storm to
his girlfriend, saying: “Serious ting and people a go dead and who tief
it a go dead.” Another message said: “How much fi deal wid every ting
fi Lizzy.” It was pointed out to Brown under cross-examination that the
text message referring to ‘Lizzy’ was Shawn Storm asking his child’s
mother how much it would cost to deal with school supplies for his
daughter. Brown admitted that he had taken that text message out of
context. He denied suggestions that his analysis was unfair and
January 16, 2011
(17) Rudolph Miles, Cable and Wireless regional fraud risk manager,
said following a request by the police, he provided subscriber
information in relation to several Personal Identification Numbers
(PIN). One was a PIN was for a customer account with a phone number for
Adidja Palmer. It showed the account was activated in February 2011 and
became inactive in June 2013.
January 21 to 22, 2014
(18) Inspector Warren Williams, head of the Cybercrimes Unit, said a
request was made to him in October 2011 in relation to a murder
investigation which took place in August 2011. He received cell-site
information with one place of interest being Havendale. He requested
schedule information from Corporal Shawn Brown. He said based on the
schedule the places of interest were Meadowbrook, Havendale, Andrew’s
Memorial Hospital and Mannings Hill Road. He made a PowerPoint
presentation of his survey of the cell sites in those areas.
Under cross-examination, it was suggested to him that he wrongly
identified Kartel’s house in Havendale by placing it on the opposite
side of the road. He said the house was pointed out to him by the
investigator on the case. He admitted that in the Christine Hewitt
murder case, he had placed the murder scene in one location, while the
other witnesses had placed it miles away in a different location. He
said it would be a breach of policy for a cell phone to be used to make
calls while it was in police custody.
Senior Superintendent Cornwall Bigga Ford of the Flying Squad
testified that at about 11 p.m., on August 29, 2011, he assembled a team
and went to the Altamont Court Hotel. He said he had search warrants
and he went to a particular room at the hotel where he saw Kartel and a
female. He identified himself to Kartel and told him of the search
warrant. He asked Kartel to secure his property and Kartel took up four
cell phones and some musical equipment. Kartel handed over the phones to
him and he made notes of the particulars of the phone in his notebook.
He said when he returned to his office, he recorded a statement from the
notes in his notebook. He said he could not find the notebook as it got
lost during the relocation of his office. He was allowed to read the
particulars of the phones from his statement. The phones, which were two
BlackBerry Torches, one BlackBerry Gold, and one Apple iPhone, were
handed over to Corporal Pitt.
Linton responded: “I don’t recall. Facebook is hackable.” Defence
lawyers questioned Linton as to how the BlackBerry cell phone attributed
to Kartel was used to make several calls when it was locked up for safe
keeping in his exhibit locker.
In response to Tavares-Finson and attorney-at-law Pierre Rogers,
Linton said he had no explanation for that. He said the key was put on
top of the locker and he did not take it home with him. He said when he
received the phones on October 3, 2011 from the Flying Squad, he locked
them up and he did not access them until October 14, 2011.
The lawyers suggested to the witness that the BlackBerry phone was
used on October 9, 2011, to make several calls and that the integrity of
the phone was compromised. Linton said he could not say it was
compromised. He agreed that the phone was put in the locker for safe
Linton said he could not say who used the phone, and in response to
Rogers, he said it came to his attention from the defence lawyers in
December last year that the phone was used while it was locked in the
evidence safe. He admitted he did not report the unauthorised access of
the phone to any superior officers or make a report in the diary. When
asked if he was setting up the entire Cybercrimes Unit for attempting to
pervert the course of justice, Linton replied, “No, counsel.”
Tavares-Finson also suggested to the witness that phone messages
referring to Kartel as a flight risk were put in when bail application
was being made for the entertainer. Linton denied that suggestion. He
said all that happened was that the investigating officer had asked him
to write a forensic report in relation to information from the
It was then suggested that Linton had put in those messages to
oppose the bail application, but he denied the suggestion. “I’m
suggesting to you that you are a charlatan, a trickster,” Rogers
suggested. Linton responded: “No, my lord.”
(21) Constable Kemar Wilks, a digital forensic examiner and crime
investigator, said Sergeant Patrick Linton gave him two compact discs on
November 24, 2011. He said he recorded what was on the discs in his
statement. One of the discs had 40 voice notes, while the other was a
video, and he prepared a statement from the voice recordings.
The transcript of the recordings were tendered into evidence despite
objections from the defence lawyers that Linton had said earlier in his
testimony he could not vouch for the integrity of the contents of the
Wilks was asked to read the notes which referred to someone saying
that ‘Lizard’ and ‘Wee’ had called to say they could not find two new
shoes which they said they had locked in a house. The video recording
had several voices and one voice said: “Hold ‘im down and mek mi cut ‘im
The Crown is alleging that Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams was beaten to
death on August 16, 2011, at Kartel’s house in Havendale, St Andrew,
over two missing guns.
Cross-examined by defence lawyer Pierre Rogers, Wilks agreed that
videos and voices could be manipulated. He said he did not see the face
of anyone who was speaking in the video.
Wilks said each person at his office had a secured storage area and his own personal key.
Questioned as to whether he left his key on top of his storage area, the witness said, “No, sir”.
December 9 and February 4
(22) Deputy Director for immigration services at the Passport,
Immigration and Citizenship Agency, Ephieum Allen, testified that police
superintendent Vernal Thompson, asked him to do a travel history for
one Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams
However, he said no record was found that the person has ever travelled outside of Jamaica
February 5 and 6
(23) Deputy Superintendent Vernal Thompson, lead investigator in
the case, said under cross-examination that there were criminals within
the ranks of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. Thompson was responding to
evidence given earlier, that persons other than the dedicated forensic
examiner were interfering with the phones taken from Kartel as well as
the data in the instrument. “I am most concerned but not surprised,”
“This is Jamaica and there are lot of criminals in some organisations.”
Rogers: “Even in the police force?”
“Even in the Jamaica Constabulary Force,” Thompson responded.
Presiding judge Lennox Campbell later asked Thompson whether any of
those unscrupulous persons were involved in the investigation against
Kartel and his four co-accused.
“No sir, they are all persons of reputable character,” Thompson replied.
Prosecution’s main witness was recalled and he identified Kartel’s
voice in several voice notes threatening to do harm if the shoes (guns)
were not returned by a certain time. The witness also identified a
voice in a video to be that of Williams. The witness also identified
photographs that were allegedly taken from a cell phone which is an
exhibit in the case. He was shown photographs in which he identified
Kartel, Shane Williams and Andre St John also called “Mad Sus”.
The witness admitted under cross-examination from defence lawyer
Everton Dewar that he had never spoken to Williams over the telephone.
February 6, 2014
One of the jurors was released for personal reasons.
February 7 to 11, 2014
No case submissions by defence lawyers and response by the prosecutors.
February 12, 2014
Judge rules case to answer.
All five men gave unsworn statements denying being involved in any murder.
March 6, 2014
Judge begins summation
March 13, 2014
Kartel and three of the four co-accused found guilty.
Adidja Palmer – GUILTY
Shawn Campbell – GUILTY
Kahira Jones – GUILTY
Shane Williams – Not GUILTY
Andre St John – GUILTY