Kartel juror to appeal conviction
Court imposes 9-month sentence at hard labour
King’s Counsel Valerie Neita-Robertson, who is representing the convicted ex-juror who tried to bribe the jury foreman in the Vybz Kartel murder trial, is of the view that the evidence used to convict her client was unreliable and she would be filing an appeal on the ground that it was unreasonable.
Sixty-three-year-old Livingston Cain was on Thursday sentenced by Parish Judge Maxine Ellis to nine months in prison at hard labour on a count of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The father of two was last December found guilty in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court of offering the jury foreman $500,000 to convince others on the 11-member jury to find Kartel, whose given name is Adidja Palmer, and his three co-accused not guilty.
The foreman had recorded Cain telling her that he realised that she had some influence over the other jurors and that he wanted her to “come to a not-guilty verdict against the five accused”.
But Neita- Robertson, who signalled her intent to appeal yesterday in court, through her junior, Jeffery Reid, said, “The Crown had not discharged its burden beyond a reasonable doubt.
“We made significant inroads on the prosecution’s case. We destroyed their evidence under cross-examination,” the KC stated.
Neita-Robertson said her team had brought evidence to show that the recording had been tampered with.
“We called an expert witness that said the recording was interfered with and demonstrated with a machine called a spectrogram, where it was spliced and overdubbed,” she shared.
Also, she said that the police had returned the phone that was used to do the recording to the witness and that the defence did not get a chance to have it examined by its expert witness.
“The phone she made the recording on, which was an exhibit, was given back to her the very night and she went to New York and lost it while she was shopping.
“We were looking for any tampering with dates and time and other things and we were unable to examine the phone,” Neita Robertson said.
The attorney explained further that the foreman had given evidence that she had sent the recording of the conversation to a friend and that the friend had emailed her the recording.
However, she said that during the trial, a witness from Digicel indicated that there was no record of an MMS message being sent on the date given by her.
In addition, Neita-Roberston said the prosecution never disclosed who the friend was or her email.
The attorney said she is at loss as to what the judge had used to convict her client.
She further highlighted that he was charged with five counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice and a count of conspiring to pervert the course of justice but that five had failed as there was no evidence to support the claim that he had tried to bribe other members of the jury.
Following the sentence, Reid made an application for bail for Cain on humanitarian grounds.
The lawyer, while submitting that his client had missed a medical appointment on Monday, argued that he would be better cared for outside of the state facility.
He also impressed on the judge to consider reinstating his bail, given that he would be appealing.
The judge, however, disagreed. She pointed out that there was no medical report before her and that there was no guarantee that Cain would be appealing his case.
Consequently, she advised the lawyer to renew his application before the Court of Appeal.
But Neita-Robertson said she would be filing the application as quickly as possible and would approach the appellate court for bail.
Meanwhile, before handing down the sentence, Parish Judge Ellis emphasised that justice is a pillar on which any civilisation is built and that no one should be allowed to interfere with an investigation.
“I consider this to be a serious matter, a matter of public interest, and a matter that affects the public in a very serious way,” she said.
The judge, however, noted that she had factored in Cain’s good antecedent and that he was a family man and an outstanding community man of humble means.
Kartel was eventually guilty, along with Shawn Campbell, Kahiro Jones, and Andre St John, for killing Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams at a house in Havendale, St Andrew, in August 2011.
Caine was on bail prior to conviction; however, his bail was revoked on December 13.