Prosecutors Agrees To Offer Vybz Kartel Bail Amid Health Crisis

Vybz Kartel could be granted bail in the event of a retrial

Vybz Kartel
Vybz Kartel

Prosecutors have conceded that instead of not ordering a retrial, Adidjah Palmer, better known as Vybz Kartel, and his co-accused could be offered bail, which will help to alleviate the aggravating medical conditions that Kartel is suffering.

The artist has heart complications due to his Graves disease diagnosis, and his condition is fast deteriorating while behind bars.

On Friday, the prosecution returned with substantive arguments in making its case that Palmer, Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, Kahira Jones and Andre St. John should face a retrial for the 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

The defense for Kartel et al. has asked the Court of Appeal to rule for the accused that they should not face a retrial because they have already spent 13 years behind bars. This is in keeping with the Privy Council’s judgment that their constitutional right to a fair trial was breached. A retrial, they argued, would further breach the men’s rights.

The state has the burden of proof to convince the Court of Appeal that a retrial should be ordered in the interests of justice. However, the court appeared concerned at the possibility of another lengthy wait before a new trial as the earliest dates are in 2025 and the availability of witnesses who can testify.

Vybz Kartel’s habeas corpus application for release was defeated in the Supreme Court more than a week ago after it found that the men were not being held unlawfully. However, for the first time, the prosecution has offered that the men could be granted bail while they await retrial.

Vybz Kartel and Likkle Vybz during 2023 visit behind bars

According to the Jamaica Observer, Prosecutor Janek Forbes said the Crown does not dispute the artist’s medical issues and their impact on his health and that bail could be a solution so he can see private doctors of his choice.

As an alternative, he also offered that the Department of Correctional Services had adequate resources that could assist the artist in dealing with his mental issues as pointed out in an affidavit filed by the defense which says that the artist had severe anxiety and mental weakness due to the legal process since his arrest.

Judge Marva McDonald-Bishop, however, offered that checks could be made to see if the artist can be treated at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Facility where he is currently held.

As arguments from the defense and prosecution wrap up, justices McDonald-Bishop, Paulette Williams and David Fraser will decide whether the men will face a retrial. The Court of Appeal previously heard the men’s appeal but disagreed that their constitutional right was breached beyond what was allowed in the interests of justice.

The Court of Appeal cut off two years from their sentence, but the Privy Council ruling on the same point as the Court of Appeal took a different position, quashing the conviction on the fair trial ground and remitting it to the Court of Appeal for a decision on retrial.