Vybz Kartel Retrial Hearing In Appeal Court Set For June 10

Vybz Kartel back in court on June 16

Vybz Kartel
Vybz Kartel

The Court of Appeal of Jamaica has set a date for arguments to be heard by attorneys representing Vybz Kartel and his co-accused Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St. John and the prosecution on whether the men should be retried for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

Vybz Kartel, real name Adidja Palmer, and his co-accused were successful on appeal at the Privy Council last month after the court ruled that they did not receive a fair trial in 2014. The Privy Council had ordered that the case be remitted to the Jamaican Court of Appeal to decide whether the men were to be retried.

It’s been over 13 years since Kartel and his co-accused were arrested in 2011. The dancehall legend, in particular, has experienced a decline in his health behind bars. Many of his fans have been calling for his release.

On Friday, Court of Appeal Judge Marva McDonald Bishop handed down the order that the defense and prosecution will present arguments on June 10, 2024, as to whether a retrial will take place.

Defense lawyers representing the defendants are to file submissions on May 6, while the Crown has a May 31 deadline to respond. Whether or not a retrial should take place has been a hot topic in the public domain.

Last month, Chief Prosecutor Paula Llewellyn indicated that her office would ask for a retrial in the interest of justice, as it would send the wrong message to society.

“We would be obliged to, given the strength of the case for the prosecution that was put up and given the authority and the case law… when you have knowledge of the state of the law in any particular area, for example, retrials, the prosecutors are obliged to go on that particular path,” she said in an interview.

Vybz Kartel, who had reacted to the March 14 judgement by the Privy Council, said he was vindicated and that he faced a “grave injustice” along with his co-accused. He was also adamant that a retrial shouldn’t be ordered given the Privy Council’s ruling.

During arguments before the Privy Council, the attorney for the defendants, King’s Counsel Hugh Southey, argued that a fair retrial was impossible due to the passage of time.

“Retrial, one thing that I wish to highlight about that. My learned friend’s submissions yesterday about why the judge was entitled to adopt the approach he did correctly and fairly pointed to the potential difficulties of a retrial in light of matters such as a profile. Those difficulties have not diminished; they’ve become greater because of the passage of time…there is no point remitting it at this point because a fair trial is now very difficult or impossible,” Southey told the learned Justices.