Judgement Day for Vybz Kartel Thursday; Privy Council Verdict Coming

Addija 'Vybz Kartel' Palmer as he left the Home Circuit Court on Thursday, March 6, 2014.

Source : Jamaica Gleaner

Three possible outcomes, says lawyer Bert Samuels

In six days, incarcerated dancehall deejay, Vybz Kartel, will know whether or not he will be a free man.

Next Thursday, one month after the February 14 hearing into his case by the Privy Council in the United Kingdom, Kartel will know whether or not he will remain locked in a prison cell until 2046 when he will be eligible for parole. The Privy Council is the highest court of appeal for many Commonwealth countries, including Jamaica.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) on Friday morning posted on its website the following: “Judgement will be handed down on Thursday, March 14, in the matter of Shawn Campbell and three others (appellants) vs The King (Respondent) No 2 (Jamaica).”

Judgement will be handed down at 4 p.m. GMT and will be streamed live on the JCPC’s website.

The appellants are Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, Adidja ‘Vybz Kartel’ Palmer, Kahira Jones and Andre St John. Their case was heard by the Privy Council on February 14 and 15.

Bert Samuels, the attorney representing Shawn Storm told The Gleaner that there are three possible outcomes.

“Either they will be freed, or a re-trial will be ordered, or they will remain behind bars. If a retrial is ordered, then we can go ahead and apply for bail,” Samuels explained.

Quizzed how he was feeling about this news, Samuels replied, “If yuh just do an exam and yuh hear that results are next week, how yuh feel?”

Samuels had previously explained why Vybz Kartel, as the celebrity and main person, is not featured, but instead, the case is referred to as ‘Shawn Campbell and three others’.

“Shawn Campbell, who was arrested first, gets the first file number and so his name is mentioned first,” Bert Samuels told The Gleaner.

Samuels added, “Sometimes they switch it around, but mainly it is Shawn Campbell and the other appellants. The truth is that many of the grounds that we applied for Shawn also apply to all the others.”

Campbell is more popularly known as entertainer Shawn Storm. He has been behind bars for more than 12 years. At the 10-year mark, he labelled the time as “wasted years”.

Samuels briefly spoke of an upbeat side.

“Shawn a hot boy yuh know. He is very tall, 6ft 3 inches … and none of them can dress like him. He is a bad lyricist too,” Samuels said of the Loyalty singer during the interview with the Gleaner conducted in October last year.

The case details on the Privy Council’s website, under the heading ‘The Issue’ state that “on 13 March 2014, the appellants were convicted of the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams. The issue in this appeal is whether their convictions are safe in light of the following grounds of challenge:

Should the trial judge have excluded the telecommunications evidence relied on by the prosecution?

How should the judge have handled the allegations that there were attempts to bribe members of the jury during the trial? Should the jury (or the particular juror said to have offered the bribes) have been discharged?

Was the judge wrong to invite the jury to reach a verdict late in the day, given the special circumstances of the case?”

Samuels feels that “if the jury gets infected, it gets infected,” and, therefore, “the judge should have discharged the jury”.

The facts of the case are that “After a trial lasting 64 days before the trial judge and a jury in the Home Circuit Court in Kingston, Jamaica, the appellants were convicted of Mr Williams’ murder. The prosecution’s case was that the appellants murdered Mr Williams on 16 August 2011 after he failed to return two unlicensed firearms which the second appellant, Mr Palmer, had given him for safekeeping. Mr Williams was not seen or heard from after that date, and his body has never been found.”

Kartel and his co-convicts denied any involvement in the killing and an appeal was set in motion. In April 2020, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appellants’ appeal against conviction. The appellants subsequently appealed to the Privy Council. Their lawyers included Bert Samuels, Isat Buchanan, Bianca Samuels, John Clarke and Linda Hudson. Representing the Privy Council were Justices Lord Reed, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Briggs, Lord Burrows, and Lady Simler.

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