Attorney representing Vybz Kartel in his Privy Council appeal, Isat Buchanan, is awaiting sanctions from the General Legal Council, the body that oversees attorneys in Jamaica, after he pleaded guilty to professional misconduct at a disciplinary hearing.
The attorney was reported by the members of the public over comments he made directed to the country’s Director of Public Prosecution, Paula Llewellyn, over the renewal of her contract in the substantive post. Debates over the extension of her contract became a political football between the two main political parties and even bloggers.
On one occasion, Isat was invited to a forum where he made several sexist and derogatory remarks about his colleague.
However, he was rebuked strongly by members of the legal profession and the public alike.
The attorney later apologized for the comments and on Saturday (Nov 5) pleaded guilty to professional misconduct. During his appearance, the attorney agreed that a sanction hearing was necessary, and the hearing was adjourned so that the panel of three adjudicating lawyers could revert with a decision on his punishment.
According to the Jamaica Gleaner, the lawyer admitted that the mistake he made was a “teachable” moment.
Buchanan has built a good reputation as a criminal law attorney and has several human rights judgments that are precedents in the Caribbean, but his journey has been fraught with challenges and, arguably, he is not well-liked due to his having a criminal background and being convicted twice for drug trafficking, Urban Islandz understands.
Still, when he was called to the bar, many senior lawyers agreed that he had positive antecedents and had proven that a former prisoner could be reformed. Buchanan’s enrolment as a lawyer also caused a change for other attorneys who now have to submit to a criminal background check, and anyone with a criminal record is deemed ineligible to become a lawyer. That position is yet to be challenged, however.
In recent times, it appears that Buchanan and the DPP also have their own beef, as her office previously reported him for remarks made about the Office of the DPP allegedly withholding evidence in a bid to frustrate his client Vybz Kartel’s privy council appeal matter.
Buchanan was also found guilty of professional misconduct by the disciplinary committee of the GLC in October 2022 for those allegations. However, the committee found that he was not wrong that the DPP’s office caused undue delay regarding the evidence, but he was wrong for speaking about the matter, which was ‘sub judice’ meaning that attorneys are not allowed to speak about active court cases and can be in violation of this rule.
Vybz Kartel recently learned that the UK Privy Council granted him an early appeal hearing set for February 2024.