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Monday, February 17, 2014

Vybz Kartel Trial : Handwriting expert says witness letter not forged, Public Defender in Court

THE defence handwriting expert in the Vybz Kartel murder trial said yesterday that he didn’t consider the element of forgery regarding a letter allegedly sent to the public defender by the key prosecution witness recanting a statement to the police.

He reiterated under crossexamination by senior prosecutor Jeremy Taylor that he had had sufficient reason to conclude that the letter, which he later read during the trial, was written by the witness.

“Any man on a galloping horse would come to the conclusion I have come to,” said expert Karl Major, a retired senior superintendent of police, to much laughter inside the number two courtroom at the Home Circuit Court.

In the letter sent to the Office of the Public Defender on November 18, 2013, the writer outlined that the police had forced him to give a statement implicating Kartel and the other men in the August 16, 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.
“I am [name withheld]. I’m the witness in the Vybz Kartel cause [case],” Major read from the letter. “The purpose of this letter is to inform you that the statement taken by the police [...] wasn’t willing because I didn’t go freely to the police station.

They came for me in brute force because then I apprehended fear and I legitimise theory of what happened on the 16th of August [...] I didn’t intend to be involved in their [...] that the reason why I didn’t want to come to court is because I see Clive after August 16[...].”

During the afternoon session of the trial, Public Defender Earl Witter, who was called by defence attorney Tom Tavares-Finson, testified that he received the letter from his secretary on November 20 last year.

He said he sent a copy of it to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and that he responded as well to the sender of the letter.
Witter testified that he responded to the writer, in keeping with his custom, explaining that the letter ought not to have been sent to him (Witter). Vybz Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer; Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell; Andre St John; Kahira Jones; and Shane Williams are being tried before a panel of 11 jurors, before Justice LennoxCampbell, for the alleged killing of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams at a house at Swallowfield Avenue in Havendale, St Andrew, on the evening of August 16, 2011.

He was reportedly beaten to death over the disappearance of two illegal guns.

Yesterday, as part of his effort to discredit the witness, Taylor asked Major, under cross-examination, if he had considered that the signature on the statement to the public defender was a forgery because of what appeared to be an absent ‘w’ at the end of the name.

The witness said no, and noted that the apparent absent ‘w’ may have been due to overwriting.

Under re-examination from Tavares-Finson, Major said that all the signatures of the witness on his statements to the police had features of overwriting.

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