Vybz Kartel and Defense Lawyers Celebrates Privy Council Win

The content originally appeared on: Urban Islandz

Vybz Kartel has signaled his approval of the decision by the London-based Privy Council to quash his murder conviction and send the case back to the Court of Appeal to determine whether he should have a retrial or be freed.

The Privy Council handed down its decision on Thursday as it ruled in the appellant’s Shawn Campbell, Adidja Palmer, Kartel’s government name, Kahira Jones, and Andre St. John’s favor that their 2014 murder conviction was unsafe.

In 2014, they were all sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. Vybz Kartel was sentenced to a reduced 32 years to life, Shawn Storm and Jones were sentenced to a later reduced 22, and Andre’ Mad Suss’ St. John was sentenced to 32 years. Those sentences have been quashed on the grounds that the irregularities pertaining to the jury were material and affected their rights to a fair trial.

The Board held that the decision of the trial judge, Lennox Campbell, to continue the trial, even after reports of a juror offering bribes to co-jurors, failed to contemplate that the remaining jurors could be consciously or unconsciously biased against the appellants.

The Privy Council’s ruling now means that the appellants will have to make an application to the Court of Appeal for it to determine whether they should be freed or if the state wishes to pursue a retrial almost 13 years after they were first arrested for the murder of Clive Williams.

On Instagram, Vybz Kartel expressed hope that he would be freed. “Victorious! @isatbuchanan anytime now #quashed #bussoff #238,” he wrote on Instagram along with his song “Unstoppable.”

On Twitter, the artist spoke about dealing with prison conditions for the first time and expressed that he was looking forward to eating a proper meal. “Longtime mi don’t eat a real dinna, meal inya f**k up suh me smuggle some rum through the steel winda,” he said quoting a song.

He also wrote “Thank you,” along with the United Kingdom flag and a screenshot of the JCPC’s ruling.

In an invited comment, one of the attorneys for Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, Bert Samuels, expressed that their legal team was overjoyed at the ruling.

“I must say that the legal team is elated – Bianca Samuels and I fought hard in the Jamaican Court of Appeal. The very grounds that we sought and argued in the Jamaican Court of Appeal have succeeded at the Privy Council, so we are saying to ourselves that, yes, we feel vindicated. We feel that the hard work paid off. Going forward, we have to now listen to Shawn Campbell, it’s his decision what team he wants to go to the Court of Appeal to argue that there should be no retrial,” Samuels said to Urban Islandz. “Today is the day for celebration and victory.”

Separately, Samuels also had strong words ahead of a press conference, saying there was “huge pressure” on the jury.

“The Director of Public Prosecution infused herself in his chambers and encouraged the judge to keep the juror who was allegedly bribing and to render a verdict with the bad apple. So, this is a day for us to see if it is see whether it is right for a prosecutor, the chief prosecutor to encourage a judge to keep a juror who has been bribing the others,” Samuels said.

Samuels was also passionate at the press conference as he expressed that the Privy Council ruled favorably for the appellants on the same grounds raised at the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal had only ruled that two years of the original sentence would be shaved off.

“We argued those very grounds before the Court of Appeal Jamaica, who turned us away. Therefore, the final court of appeal has vindicated and made the efforts we have made that we had an arguable case. We were alarmed when the Jamaican Court of Appeal did not take that jury point, but it took another court to say it was a breach of the constitutional rights of Shawn Campbell. This is an instructive judgement. It ought not to have gone to the Privy Council…” Samuels said.

In the meantime, Kartel’s lawyer, Isat Buchanan, reacted to the judgment on a lighter note as he shared a video before the decision was handed down. The attorney joked and called on Kartel’s fans from St. Thomas to work their obeah and use their guard rings to get him a favorable judgment.

Kartel’s fiancée, Sidem Ozturk, was also in court for the decision hearing.

In the meantime, if the Court of Appeal frees the appellants, all will walk free except Jones, who will have to serve an 18-year sentence for the shooting of Chevallo Rodney in Waterford, Portmore, in 2009. Jones was found guilty and sentenced in 2019 for wounding with intent and eight years each for illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition.


Vybz Kartel