‘What Is There To Retry’? – Vybz Kartel Questions Need For Retrial After Privy Council Ruling

(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – Following the Privy Council’s decision on Thursday to overturn his conviction and that of his co-accused for the 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams, Vybz Kartel expressed a sense of victory.

In a statement shared with Fox 5 News’ Lisa Evers and posted on her Facebook page, Kartel conveyed his joy, stating that the Privy Council “understood the assignment and remedied the situation” by overturning the convictions due to juror misconduct.

The Privy Council ordered that the case be returned to Jamaica’s Appeal Court to decide whether a retrial is necessary for Kartel and his co-accused Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St John.

However, Kartel questioned the need for a retrial in his statement to Fox 5 News, saying, “I feel victorious in this very moment as the Privy Council in their infinite wisdom, understood the assignment and remedied the situation by quashing my conviction! I am now back to being an innocent man in the eyes of the law. A grave injustice was done to me and my co-accused in the original trial… and my cries were heard in the land’s highest court.”

He added: “I am confident that the Court of Appeal in Jamaica will do the right thing in the name of equity, fairness and justice and free us. Some people have expressed their concern to me that a retrial may be ordered but to them I say (albeit with my limited knowledge of the law) ‘What is there to retry’?”

The Privy Council’s ruling followed an appeal made last month (February 14 and 15) by lawyers representing the then convicts, who argued various grounds including the admissibility of telecommunication evidence, allegations of jury misconduct, and pressure on the jury to reach a verdict.

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 had 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.