The three member panel of judges at the Jamaican Court of Appeal have dismissed the appeal case by dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel and his three co-convicts who were sentenced for murder.
Appeal Court Judges Frank Wiliams, Dennis Morrison, and Patrick Brooks this morning affirmed the 2014 murder conviction of Kartel and his co-convicts but they have given defense attorneys 7 days to submit documents for them to consider a reduction in sentence for the convicted artiste.
The verdict was delivered over a conference call with Attorneys and prosecutors involved in the appeal in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Kartel, André St John, Shawn Campbell (also known as dancehall artiste Shawn Storm), and Kahira Jones were sentenced to life imprisonment for the 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams. Vybz Kartel had received the harshest sentence, requiring him to serve at least 35 years before being eligible for parole. Storm and Jones were ordered to serve 25 years each before being eligible for parole, while St John will serve 15 years.
Kartel’s lawyers argued that he did not get a fair trial and that sentencing was excessive. They assert that the deejay was not at the scene on the day the murder took place and cited discrepancies with the GPS data obtained from Kartel’s cell phone. Bert Samuels, who represents Shawn Storm, said “The second was the allegation by the foreman of the jury that all members of the jury were being approached to give a certain verdict, rendering him unfit. That man was unfit to sit and deliberate with the jurors and come with an independent and impartial verdict, guaranteed by the Constitution.”
Following the conference call, Vybz Kartel’s attorney Valerie Neita Robinson said that the Judges’ request for additional documents and information is in her opinion an indicator that they have already decided to reduce his sentence.
She said the team will be approaching the Privy Council in London to secure the artiste’s acquittal.