Vybz Kartel will have his appeal trial started on February 19, 2018.
The date was set during a court hearing on Tuesday between lawyers representing the defense and the prosecution. Last month, a judge granted Vybz Kartel the green light to proceed with his appeal after reviewing documents submitted by his legal team. Kartel, born Adidja Palmer, Shawn “Storm” Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St. John were all convicted of the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams in March 2014. All four men are appealing their conviction, citing numerous issues with their trial including witness intimidation and tampering with evidence by law enforcement officials.
Defense attorneys will still have to submit their skeletal argument to the Jamaica Appeal Court by June and file authority by July. The prosecution is also expected to make their counter arguments by the end of July and after which judges will have time to review their submission ahead of the appeal trial in February next year. Vybz Kartel and his co-convicts have maintained their innocence. If the Appeal Court holds their conviction in tact, they will continue to serve their life sentences without any chance of filing another appeal. Kartel says he feels confident that the Appeal Court will vindicate him.
Despite being behind bars since 2011, Vybz Kartel manages to stay relevant in dancehall by releasing a steady supply of new music. The aced dancehall star also came under heavy scrutiny earlier this year for allegedly illegally recording music in prison. He has denied the allegations and correctional officials say they found no evidence that he has been recording behind bars. Still, the controversy was enough for the correctional department to tighten up security inside prisons. The deejay also said that he has a vast catalog of previously recorded unreleased music and that is where his new music is coming from.