Vybz Kartel’s Trial Faces Collapse, Judge Refuses Witness Statements

Supreme Court judge Bryan Sykes has turned down the application to accept two witness statements at the murder trial of dancehall artiste Adija ‘Vybz Kartel’ Palmer. Justice Sykes handed down his ruling a short while ago. He said he was not convinced that the prosecution took enough steps to locate the witnesses. The 12-member jury is to return to the Home Circuit Court tomorrow.

At that time, the prosecution is expected to offer no further evidence and the judge will then direct the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty. Kartel, Lenburgh McDonald and Nigel Thompson were taken into custody for the 2011 shooting murder of the St Catherine businessman, Barrington ‘Bossy’ Burton.

However Kartel will remain in custody because he has another murder case pending against him.

Earlier:

Supreme Court Judge Bryan Sykes has pushed back his ruling on whether to accept two witness statements at the murder trial of dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel.

Justice Sykes was expected to make the ruling at 10 a.m. this morning but he will now do so at 2 p.m.

The judge said he decided to push back the ruling because he received evidence material to one of the statements only this morning.

Justice Sykes has told that jurors that they should return to court tomorrow.

Legal pundits say that this suggests that the judge has already ruled on whether to accept one of the witness statements.

If the judge rules against accepting the statements, this would mean a virtual collapse of the prosecution’s case.

For one week, the prosecution made submissions to the judge to accept the witness statements as evidence because it has not been able to locate the witnesses.

The application was made under the Evidence (Amendment) Act which provides for witness statements to be admitted where a witness cannot be located.

Kartel, whose given name is Adidja Palmer, is before the Home Circuit Court for the 2011 shooting murder of the St Catherine businessman, Barrington ‘Bossy’ Burton.

He is jointly charged with Lenburgh McDonald and Nigel Thompson.

Three witnesses have so far testified at the trial which began last Monday.

In opening its case the prosecution had said it would be relying on identification to prove that its witnesses knew the defendants.

The prosecution also said that its witnesses would prove that on July 11, 2011, they overheard the plan to kill Burton.



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