One of the jurors who served in the Vybz Kartel murder trial admitted yesterday that he is a employee of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
Dennis Brown made the admission in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court as he gave evidence in the corruption trial of Livingston Cain, the juror accused of trying to bribe his peers to return not guilty verdicts in the Kartel case.
At the same time Cain’s attorney, Valerie Neita-Robertson, also suggested that another man who “works” with the JDF – identified in court as Gutzmore Lord – and the wife of a police inspector, were also part of the Vybz Kartel jury.
Under the Jury Act, officers and non-commissioned officers as well as regular and reserve members of the JDF are barred from serving as jurors.
While acknowledging, during cross-examination, that he is an “artisan supervisor” with the army, Brown maintained that he is a civilian.
“Were you hiding your identity to serve on this jury?” Neita-Robertson questioned.
“Absolutely not,” Brown replied.
He also testified that he did not know whether Lord worked with the JDF.
“Gutzmore Lord worked with the JDF and gave his occupation [when he signed up for jury duty] as a tailor. Did you know him before the Vybz Kartel trial?” Neita-Roberston pressed.
“That’s absolutely ridiculous,” Brown replied.
He testified that he was aware that another juror, identified only as ‘Miss McCleod’, was the wife of a police inspector, but denied that he sought the senior cop’s intervention to help retrieve a motorcar that was seized by the Transport Authority.
Cain, who is a football coach, is on trial for six counts of perverting the course of justice and one count of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
Brown – the prosecution’s first witness – told the court that nearly two months after the trial started in November 2013, Cain twice tried to convince him that prosecutors were “telling ‘pere’ lies” on Kartel, whose given name is Adidja Palmer, and his co-accused.
“He said we jurors should not listen to them [prosecutors] and disregard them because the accused were prominent entertainers with a bright future,” Brown testified of a conversation he had with Cain in December 2013.
The witness said he replied telling Cain it was still early days in the trial and that what he had heard was insufficient to form an opinion on the innocence of the accused men.
Brown testified that nearly a month later in January 2014 during a break in the Kartel trial, Cain told him that he wanted to “speak to me on a big man level”.
He said during a conversation outside the jury room Cain again told him “we should set these men free because they are young men with a bright future”.
“I said I don’t care who they are, I will be true to the oath that I took and that I will give my verdict accordingly,” he recalled.
Brown told the court that Cain was the person who the sole juror that voted not guilty in the 10-1 decision to convict Kartel, fellow entertainer Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell and three others for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.
He will continue giving evidence when the trial resume today.