Conviction Quashed: Privy Council Sends Kartel Case Back To Local Appeal Court

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(JAMAICA OSERVER) – The Privy Council has ordered that incarcerated dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel and his three co-accused have their convictions quashed for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

“The judicial committee of the Privy Council has unanimously concluded that the appeals should be allowed and the appellants convictions should be quashed on the grounds of juror misconduct and that the case should be remitted to the Court of Appeal to decide whether to order a retrial of the appellants for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams,” the Privy Council stated.

The UK-based Privy Council, the highest tier of the court system in Jamaica, handed down its decision on Thursday to have the convictions of Vybz Kartel, real name Adidja Palmer, fellow entertainer Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, Kahira Jones and Andre St John, quashed based on the arguments presented last month.

On February 14 and 15, the appellants presented arguments on whether trial judge Lennox Campbell should have allowed telecommunication evidence, which was obtained in a manner that allegedly breached Palmer’s constitutional rights to privacy, into the trial.

Another ground cited for appeal was the judge’s decision to not discharge the jury or the accused juror following allegations of bribery attempts.

The appellants also argued that there was an apparent rush placed on the jury to return a verdict, even after the forewoman had told the judge earlier in the day that the jury could not reach a unanimous decision.

In April 2014, Kartel was sentenced to life in prison with the eligibility of parole after serving 35 years of his sentence. His co-accused were also handed life sentences – with Shawn Storm and Jones being eligible for parole after serving 25 years, and St John being eligible after serving 15 years.

The four men first attempted to appeal their sentences in the Court of Appeal but they were upheld.