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Legal Twist: Vybz Kartel Case Returns to Local Appeal Court as Privy Council Overturns Conviction

StoriesLegal Twist: Vybz Kartel Case Returns to Local Appeal Court as Privy Council Overturns Conviction

The Privy Council has mandated that the convictions of dancehall star Vybz Kartel, who is currently incarcerated, and his three co-accused members be overturned for their roles in Clive “Lizard” Williams’ murder.

The Privy Council announced, “Unanimously, the judicial committee has determined that the appeals should be granted, the appellants’ convictions should be overturned due to juror misconduct, and that the case should be remanded to the Court of Appeal to determine whether to order a retrial of the appellants for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.”

Based on the arguments made last month, the UK-based Privy Council, the highest court in Jamaica, decided on Thursday to have the convictions of Adidja Palmer, also known as Vybz Kartel, Shawn “Shawn Storm” Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St John overturned.

The appellants argued before trial judge Lennox Campbell on February 14 and 15, arguing that the evidence from the telecommunications system was obtained in a way that violated Palmer’s fundamental rights to privacy.

The judge’s choice to not remove the accused juror or the jury in the wake of bribery charges was another reason given for the appeal.

The appellants further contended that despite the forewoman’s previous admission to the judge that the jury was unable to achieve a unanimous conclusion, there seemed to be a rush on the part of the panel to return a verdict.

After spending 35 years of his sentence, Kartel was given a life term in jail with the possibility of release in April 2014. His fellow defendants received life sentences as well; Shawn Storm, Jones, and St. John will be eligible for parole after 25 and 15 years, respectively.

The Court of Appeal rejected the four men’s initial bid to overturn their sentences, and they were upheld.

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