Juror charged with attempted bribery in murder trial of Jamaican dancehall star Vybz Kartel | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Juror charged with attempted bribery in murder trial of Jamaican dancehall star Vybz Kartel

KINGSTON, Jamaica - A Jamaican juror has been charged with attempted bribery in a high-profile murder trial of top dancehall reggae star Vybz Kartel, police on the Caribbean island said Sunday.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force announced that 50-year-old Livingston Cain of the Kingston suburb of Stony Hill has been charged with five counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice and conspiracy. He's due to appear before a magistrate's court on Tuesday.

Cain was a juror in the trial of Kartel, who has been a marquee name in the brash reggae-rap hybrid for a decade. The innovative but always controversial performer and three co-defendants were convicted Thursday of the 2011 slaying of dancer Clive "Lizard" Williams as police in riot gear barricaded streets in downtown Kingston to prevent the entertainer's zealous fans from swarming the supreme court.

Shortly after the 10-1 guilty verdict was announced, Cain was arrested on suspicion of attempting to bribe jurors in an attempt to free Kartel. The foreman reported the alleged bribery attempt to authorities on Thursday afternoon but the judge allowed jury deliberations to continue. Local media reported that the accused juror was breathing heavily and looked visibly uncomfortable when the verdict was read. Minutes later, police detained him.

Detectives have searched Cain's home, seizing a cellphone and other items. It's not clear how much money was allegedly offered or if more arrests are expected for trying to sway the verdict in Kartel's favour.

Williams' body has never been found, but police testified that they retrieved a text message from Kartel's phone saying he was chopped up in "mincemeat" so fine that his remains would never be located. Last year, another murder case against Kartel and two others collapsed after prosecutors failed to produce evidence to support allegations that the trio killed a Jamaican businessman in 2011.

Musically, Kartel is best known for his prolific output and creating songs like "Ramping Shop," ''Clarks," and "Jeans & Fitted." His rapid-fire, innovative lyrical skill has been widely admired but the songs' often X-rated, violent imagery earned him many critics. He also made headlines in Jamaica by using chemicals to dramatically lighten his skin, a phenomenon that doctors say has reached dangerous proportions in the country's gritty slums.

Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, was jailed for about three years before his Thursday conviction, but his tracks continued to be played widely. Even before he was locked up in 2011, he was denied U.S. and U.K. travel visas, requiring him to perform via satellite feeds for shows overseas. He has worked on remixes and collaborations with international recording artists such as Rihanna, Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes, who attended the murder trial in Kingston as a show of support.

Kartel and the three others are due to be sentenced on March 27 and face a maximum penalty of life in prison. Kartel's defence team says it plans to appeal.


David McFadden on Twitter: http://twitter.com/dmcfadd

News from © The Associated Press, 2014
The Associated Press

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