VYBZ KARTEL TRIAL: Police did not threaten to arrest me, says key witness

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

The key witness in the Vybz Kartel murder trial testified this morning that the police did not threaten him with a murder charge in order for him to provide a statement in the matter.

Kartel and four others are charged with the August 16, 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

In his cross-examination, Michael Lorne, the attorney representing one of the accused, Shawn Storm, asked the witness: “Did the police tell you if you did not cooperate, you would be charged for murder?”

“No, no police told me any such thing,” the witness replied.

The witness also said he was not aware that a paid informer was in the room when he was giving his statement on August 24, 2011.

Questioned whether he would have given the statement had been told about the informer, the witness said: “Yes, I’m not hiding anything.”

The witness also denied a suggestion from Lorne that he was placed in a situation where he kept telling the police he didn’t want to give a statement.

The trial is now on an early adjournment to address in chambers, a matter of disclosure.

The matter originated when Lorne asked the witness if he was in police custody which triggered an objection from lead prosecutor, Jeremy Taylor.

Taylor cited public interest immunity.

However, Lorne said it is important to know “where the witness is coming from”.

“It is a big difference if the witness is taking instructions from the police or from the priest,” said Lorne.

The prosecutor again objected when Justice Lennox Williams interjected: “Just jumping to your feet and shouting ‘public interest’ does not take the debate any further. The court has to do a balancing act.”

The judge queried whether Taylor had spoken to the defence in relation to certain issues to which Taylor responded no, prompting the early adjournment.

Earlier, the witness denied a suggestion by Kartel’s attorney, Tom Tavares-Finson, that he fabricated a statement to the police after he was picked up in St Thomas.

The witness also denied a suggestion from Tavares-Finson that he went freely to the police about Williams’ murder.

He also said he did not write a letter to the Public Defender, Earl Witter.

The lawyer asked the witness to read his statement given that yesterday he testified that Kartel encouraged him to leave Jamaica for Guyana to avoid questions about the August 16, 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

The witness read from statement: “On Thursday the 18th August, 2011, 9 a.m. Kartel called me and told me they were going to Guyana, I should come and I told them I am not going.”

When Finson suggested to him that Shawn Storm and Kartel never said anything about leaving Jamaica, the witness responded: “I’m telling the whole truth.”

Asked by the judge, how many artistes he saw when he arrived at the airport, the witness said he saw Kartel, Shawn Storm, Sheeba and managers Moonie, Pim Pim and other persons.

Meanwhile, the key witness has denied a suggestion from Kartel’s attorney that he had intended to meet the entertainer at a guest house in Havendale on the day of the murder of ‘Lizard’ Williams.

The witness had testified that August 16, 2011 he had stopped at a guest house in Havendale but did not know the purpose for stopping there.

This morning, Tavares-Finson also suggested that the evidence that the witness was running from Kartel’s premises in fear is not true.

However, the witness answered “It is the truth, sir. I was running from the premises because of fear.”

He also denied a suggestion that he went on his own free will when he put Kartel in a taxi and drove with him to the Andrews Memorial Hospital.

The witness also refuted a suggestion that Kartel did not telephone him to discuss any meeting.

Later in a cross-examination by Lorne, the witness said when he and Clive ‘Lizard’ had a problem, they went to Shawn Storm for help but he told them it was not his business.

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