Jamaica News: The Dancehall magnate, Vybz Kartel, and his fellow accuses: Shawn Storm, Kahira Jones and Andre St John, convictions for murder were affirmed by the Court of Appeal this morning.
The judgement came after a near two-year wait. The lawyers for murder convict Vybz Kartel and his co-accused say they will now be moving to appeal this morning’s judgement in their murder conviction.
“We are disappointed, but we are prepared to go to the Privy Council,” said Bert Samuels, one of a team of lawyers representing the four co-accused.
Kartel has been in custody since September 29, 2011.
Here on the grounds on which the convicts had appealed.
1.The trial judge erred in admitting cell phone evidence & data from cell phones as the data had been compromised & contaminated & so there is more than reasonable doubt about their integrity.
2. The trial judge failed in his summation to adequately deal w the issue of the compromise of the cell phones.
3. The trial judge erred in admitting video evidence which was highly prejudicial & of little probative value. As such he invited the jury to speculate about video contents & compounded the unfair trial.
4. The trial judge failed to leave to the jury all the relevant & material aspects of the video evidence which were admitted including time stamps. As such jury didn’t get a balanced perspective so unfair trial.
5. The trial judge misdirected himself in comments to jury about a letter purported written by a key witness for prosecution, Lamar Chow. Judge’s comments were unreasonable & capable of suggesting manipulation by counsel.
6. The trial judge failed to leave to jury full & reasonable directions on the law re inferences. This failure denied jurors appropriate tools to enable a fair & balance case assessment.
7. The trial judge gave inadequate directions re the law of circumstantial evidence which in the circumstances of this case was a critical misdirection.
8. The trial judge after months of trial retired the jury at a time so late in the day as the bring undue pressure on then to arrive at a rushed verdict.
9. The trial judge erred in his treatment of unsworn statements of Vybz Kartel & others when he failed to inform jury of possible effects of the statements on consideration of each of their case.
10. The trial judge erred at many points in his summation where he made unjustified, unreasonable, improper & prejudicial comments & omissions re different aspects of the case.
11. The judge at different points misquoted the evidence and made palpably biased comments all of which were fatal to any possibility of a fair trial.
12. Trial judge erred when he failed to follow appropriate procedure in dealing w allegations of jury contamination. Errors involved breaches of constitution, failing to conduct proper inquiry & take proper legal course
13. The sentence is manifest excessive.
14. Given the nature, extent & volume of the publicity regarding the trial Vybz Kartel and others cannot receive a fair trial in Jamaica.
News Reporter: Marc Lodge