Jamaica’s top prosecutor yesterday revealed that the police have increased security around her office and the two prosecutors in the Vybz Kartel murder trial because of “specific and general security concerns”.
As part of the increased safety measures, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn disclosed that close protection security has been provided for Jeremy Taylor, the lead prosecutor in the Kartel case, and his junior, Crown counsel Leighton Morris.
Llewellyn, however, declined to discuss the security concerns or the measures that have been put in place by the police, saying that would be inappropriate.
“But they are still in place and will remain in place until I am advised by the police authorities that they are no longer required,” she insisted.
“The welfare of my staff is paramount,” Llewellyn added, while indicating that she was not aware of any death threats against Taylor.
The concerns about the safety of the two prosecutors could mean additional challenges for the police who have already placed in protective custody, the main prosecution witness and Stephanie Breakenridge, the sister of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams, who Kartel and his co-accused were convicted for killing.
When contacted, Deputy
Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds, who heads the operations portfolio, said he was not prepared to discuss any specific case, explaining that “it would be irresponsible to do so”.
“But we have the capacity to protect the country and all its citizens,” Hinds asserted.
Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, and fellow entertainer Shawn Campbell, better known as ‘Shawn Storm’, as well as Kahira Jones and André St John, were convicted for Williams’ murder last Thursday. The other co-accused Shane Williams, was acquitted, but remains in custody on another murder charge.
A senior law-enforcement source told The Gleaner that the police began implementing increased security measures around Taylor, Morris and the DPP’s office during the 65-day trial.
“There were concerns during the conduct of the trial as it relates to witnesses and counsel [for the prosecution],” the source revealed.
Without mentioning the Kartel case, Llewellyn explained that she is required to carry out regular reviews of the “welfare needs” of her staff, adding that once it is deemed appropriate, the police would be asked to put measures in place.