ON TRIAL: Dancehall entertainer Vybz Kartel is led from the Home Circuit Court yesterday (March 6)
US RAPPER Busta Rhymes turned up in court to support dancehall artist Vybz Kartel as the embattled entertainer's murder trial reached the final stage before it is handed over to the jury.
Rhymes, an American hip-hop star and actor with Jamaican roots, who has collaborated with Kartel in the past, said he would not speak with the media before the verdict was read. He revealed, however, that he would not be leaving the island before the end of the trial.
Kartel, real name Adidja Palmer, is charged jointly with fellow entertainer Shawn Campbell, also known as Shawn Storm; Kahira Jones; Shane Williams; and André St John. They have been on trial in the Home Circuit Court since November last year.
Justice Lennox Campbell, who began his summation yesterday to the 11-member jury in the trial, said self-defence or provocation did not arise for their consideration.
The judge said the two verdicts open to them were guilty or not guilty of murder.
However, the judge said that the jury would first have to determine if Clive 'Lizard' Williams was dead.
SUPPORT: Vybz Kartel and Busta Rhymes collaborated on Give Wine & Go Down in 2012
Williams' body has not been found, but the prosecution is asking the jury to find that he is dead based on the circumstantial evidence in the case.
He said if they found he was not dead, that would be the end of the Crown's case.
RELYING ON COMMON DESIGN
Yesterday (March 6), the judge reminded the jury that the Crown was relying on common design to prove its case and pointed out that it was a plan to commit an offence. He said it did not matter how small the part a person played in the common design, even if it were a wink or a nod. He said the essence of common design is that each accused must have the intention to commit the offence and took some part in it, whether great or small.
Campbell told the jurors they were supreme on the facts, and if they did not agree with comments he or the lawyers made, they should toss them aside. He called for them not to have any sympathy or prejudice to influence their verdict. The judge said although they heard evidence of locking of guns, they should not allow that to prejudice their minds because the men's morals were not on trial.
"Don't say Palmer is guilty of the crime because of his lyrical content," the judge said.
When Campbell referred to the voice notes presented in the case and said Kartel did not say it was not his voice, defence lawyer Tom Tavares-Finson reminded the judge that the defence was saying that the voice notes were manipulated and spliced.
Campbell will continue his summation today, and the matter is expected to be turned over to the jury next week for a verdict.