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BREAKING: Vybz Kartel and co-defendants’ conviction quashed by Privy Council; may face re-trial following successful appeal

Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2024. 10:23 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has sent back the murder case involving dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel, full name Adidja Palmer, and three others to the local courts for a decision on whether they should be retried. 

The ruling in the appeal by Kartel, Shawn Campbell, Kahira Jones and Andre St John was handed down a short while ago.

The court found that the decision by the trial judge to continue the case after a member of the original jury was caught trying to bribe other members to acquit the accused was “fatal” to the convictions which followed. Jamaican legislation does not allow a jury to be discharged before the end of a case in such circumstances as is allowed in England and Wales.

The court did not rule on two other grounds brought by the accused – that electronic evidence entered against them was illegally gathered in violation of their privacy and that the late ending of the summing-up put undue pressure on the jury to consider a verdict.

Jamaica retains the Privy Council as its final court of appeal as opposed to Belize and other Caribbean jurisdictions which switched to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

 

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