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Vybz Kartel’s Son Compassionate Plea Struck Down By Judge In Retrial Hearing

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Vybz Kartel with his grandson

Arguments as to whether dancehall artist Adidjah ‘Vybz Kartel’ Palmer, Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, Andre St. John, and Kahira Jones began in the Court of Appeal starting on Monday (June 10).

The hearing comes almost three (3) months since the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council ordered that the four men be acquitted of murder charges for the death of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

The men have remained behind bars and were unsuccessful last month in being released from jail after the Supreme Court rejected a habeas corpus application claiming that they were unlawfully detained by the state. In that case, the judge ruled that the Court of Appeal was the proper forum to decide on freedom for the artists.

In the meantime, Vybz Kartel’s fate depends on the hearing which started on Monday at 9 am and is estimated to last around five (5) days before Justices Marva McDonald-Bishop, Paulette Williams, and David Fraser.

The position of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution is that the four defendants should be retried for the 2011 murder of Williams. It is alleged that Kartel and his co-accused committed the dastardly act. However, the defense is challenging the time that has passed and questions whether the men can receive a fair trial given that witnesses are available, among other things.

Vybz Kartel and Likkle Vybz during 2023 visit behind bars

At Monday’s hearing, attorneys for Vybz Kartel, Isat Buchanan, John Clarke for Kahira Jones, and Bert Samuels for Shawn Campbell will make representations.

The hearing also comes just days after Kartel’s son, Likkle Vybz, real name Adidja Jahiem Palmer, and his lawyer Buchanan revealed that the artist’s medical condition has deteriorated, and he needs surgery regarding his heart condition.

He has expressed frustration at the ongoing process and continued detention. However, pending the Court of Appeal’s decision, his lawyer is likely to make an application for bail.

Vybz Kartel’s son argued that his father’s heart condition couldn’t withstand a retrial. However, the judge, Justice McDonald Bishop, ruled that the compassionate plea from the younger Palmer should be backed by medical evidence.

After the first day’s hearing, Vybz Kartel’s defense remains confident he will get a favorable outcome.

“Last we spoke, all of the appellants were eager to have the matter dealt with so that the issue of their freedom can be determined,” attorney Alessandra LaBeach stated. “They are eager to return to society and their families, so we are endeavouring to ensure that is attainable. We have put in a lot of work and a lot of time in preparing for the matter, and we are endeavouring to put our best foot forward in representing the men and vindicating the men.”

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