(Jamaica Gleaner)An electronic file lifted from the mobile phone reportedly taken from popular entertainer Vybz Kartel was “modified” three hours after the device was seized by a top police investigator, one attorney told the Court of Appeal yesterday.
According to Bianca Samuels, one of the attorneys for incarcerated entertainer Shawn Storm, the electronic file contained one of the damning text messages prosecutors used to convict the two dancehall artistes of murder.
“Between me and you a chop wi chop up di bwoy Lizard fine fine and dash him weh nuh. As long as we alive dem can never find him,” read the text message, which was used during the entertainers’ 17-week murder trial.
Samuels revealed, too, that the meta data for the text message was created on July 6, 2011, six weeks before prosecutors said Williams was killed.
“This one has left me puzzled,” said Samuels.
The panel of three judges hearing the case appeared surprised by the assertion.
“Our silence was sharing in your puzzlement,” said president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Dennis Morrison, who, along with justices Patrick Brooks and Frank Williams, is hearing the case.
Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, and Shawn Storm, whose real name is Shawn Campbell, were convicted in 2014, along with Kahira Jones and AndrÈ St John, for killing Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams at a house in Havendale, St Andrew, in 2011.
All four were sentenced to life in prison, with Kartel ordered to serve 35 years before he becomes eligible for parole. Campbell, Jones and St John were each ordered to serve 25 years in prison before they become eligible for parole.
The men are seeking to have their convictions and sentences quashed by the Court of Appeal. Two of the grounds of their appeal are that the integrity of the phone had been compromised and Justice Lennox Campbell, who presided over the trial, erred when he allowed the device to be admitted into evidence.
Samuels, who along with Bert Samuels, Isat Buchanan and Daynia Allen represent Shawn Storm, said the evidence shows that Kartel’s mobile phones were confiscated by then Superintendent of Police Cornwall Ford at 5:30 a.m. on September 30, 2011.
However, she noted that the damning text message “is seen on the meta data of the SD [storage] card to have been modified on the said September 30, 2011 at 8:54 a.m., some three hours and 24 minutes after it was taken from Mr Palmer, and while in the custody of the police.
“If the forensic examiner (the police investigator who examined the device) cannot vouch for the integrity of the items, no one else can,” the attorney said in reference to the police expert who testified that he could not confirm whether any of the mobile phones had been modified.