Expert can’t say if text messages came from Kartel’s phone

BY PAUL HENRY Coordinator – Crime/Court Desk [email protected]

Monday, December 16, 2013

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AN expert from telecoms giant Digicel testified on Friday that he was unable to say whether text messages recovered by the police were sent from devices owned by murder accused Vybz Kartel or his co-accused.

Mario Ghantous Assaad, Digicel’s group chief technology officer, testified under cross-examination in the Home Circuit Court that it was possible for a SIM card to be cloned.

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Under questioning from attorney Michael Lorne, Assaad said that it was possible for a mobile phone’s unique identification number to be hacked and for a phone call to be placed or a message sent from a cloned mobile phone, making it appear as if the original owner of the phone number was placing the call or sending the message.

Due to these factors, Assaad said he was unable to say if messages reportedly recovered from Digicel’s system were actually sent from the original devices which the police are alleging were confiscated from Vybz Kartel and his co-accused.

Responding to a question from Vybz Kartel’s attorney Chris Tavares-Finson, Assaad admitted that Digicel’s system had in the past been compromised. But he said that the system was in proper working order at the time information regarding phone numbers reportedly assigned to the murder accused were recovered.

The prosecution says it has in its possession several messages allegedly taken from Digicel mobile phones confiscated from the accused men when they were arrested in 2011.

Vybz Kartel (real name Adidja Palmer), Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, Shane Williams, Andre St John, and Kahira Jones are being tried for murder in the alleged beating death of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams on August 16, 2011. All the men belong to the Portmore, St Catherine-based ‘Gaza Empire’ headed by Vybz Kartel.

On Friday there was some laughter in the courtroom when Lorne asked Assaad, who is a national of Lebanon, a series of questions related to Gaza in the Middle East.

But senior prosecutor Jeremy Taylor objected to the question, telling Justice Lennox Campbell, that he does not understand the line of questioning.


  1. What a laughable master piece of argument this is. What they are actually saying is that someone cloned the sim card and also told gaza slim to make a false police report. Did the person clone kartel’s voice as well??? The defense team just shot themselves in the head. We need to hear the arguments about this Phantom letter now.

  2. I wonder why the court laff when they spoke about the real Gaza thats nothing funny. And thats where kartel got the name so I don’t see the joke anyway the police could be trying to frame him the way they are going after him seems hateful all his defence has to do is imply that hes being set up and he could win if they make this case look like system vs ghetto yute or even better babylon vs trying jamaican artist. Remember people haven’t forgotten that Bob marley never stop run from police till he was in his grave they even shot him and rita and beat Peter tosh its not a stretch to say they would set up kartel

  3. @G let’s say yes the police are trying to frame him by cloning his sim card, when did they clone it before or after the alleged murder are you aware that when a person sends a text message or makes a phone call the TIME of that message/call is stored. The incident took place at X time, the police arrested the perpetrators at Y time. If the clone took place after the incident there is ABSOLUTELY no way that text messages and calls could have been sent at X time. The defense team is obviously running out of ideas and are tossing coins in a wishing well. First they told the court that the police may have been the ones to set the fire to the house and now this. ….. how dumb are the jurors to Belive this???

  4. I didn’t know that these texts where sent around the time of lizards murder! what do these texts say? I assumed these where the gaza slim texts

  5. Defense lawyers don’t care if a person is guilty or innocent. They will say anything to create reasonable doubt. Sad, but that is why so many murderer’s get off. For those who are interested in Kartel guilt or innocence listen to the evidence the procecution presents.

    Good night Met, Metters and peepers


    Jurors were again asked to leave to courtroom today (Monday, Dec16) as the voir dire continues in the murder trial of popular dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel.

    The court is seeking to decide if evidence from Patrick Linton, a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Cyber Crimes Unit, is admissible

    It is understood that the case will continue in camera until Thursday.

  7. Very weak defence ,even if they are putting this evidence forward in order to mention it later in the appeal process it is just too weak .Unless you can prove that someone actually hacked your phone it was you that was using it .

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