Vybz Kartel, born Adidja Palmer, and his co-accused, Shawn ‘Storm’ Campbell, Andre St John, and Kahira Jones, scored a major win in the Court of Appeal on Friday when a judge granted them leave to take their case to the Privy Council. This is an important hurdle for the dancehall legend, who suffered a series of defeats over the past decade in the Jamaican court system. The four men lost their appeal in Jamaica’s Court of Appeal in April of this year and vowed that they would take their case to the highest court, Privy Council in the United Kingdom. Still, this is only the beginning of a major fight for his lawyers, who now has the daunting task of proving to UK’s Privy Council why the four men should be exonerated of the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams.
In handing down her judgment in a virtual setting, Court of Appeal judge, Justice Nicole Simmonds, said, “The applicants are granted conditional leave to appeal to her majesty in council the decision of the Court of Appeal delivered on 3rd and 17th of April 2020, pursuant to section 110 subsection 2B of the Jamaica constitution for consideration of the question below subparagraph 8. ‘Does the charter of fundamental right and freedom affects the court’s authority to admit into evidence material acquired secured or polluted in breach of the rights and freedoms that the charter guaranteed and if so in what way.’”
Justice Simmonds also granted the four men leave to appeal against the burning issue of the trial judge’s controversial refusal to dismiss the jury after it became known that at least one of the 11-member panel was corrupt. Urban Islandz reported in 2014 that juror Livingston Caine was arrested on the day Vybz Kartel and his co-accused were convicted of murder. Caine was accused of attempting to bribe other members of the jury, including the foreman. He was also the only juror to rule in favor of a not guilty verdict, which further rouse suspicions.
“The trial judge’s management of the issue of jury impropriety that occurred during the course of the trial, in particular, a procedure that was adopted and the extent of the inquiry that was conducted,” Justice Simmonds said while handing down her ruling. “Two, the trial judge’s refusal discharge a jury or any juror following his inquiry into the issue of jury impropriety.”
The Court of Appeal judge also granted the four men leave to the court’s handling of fresh evidence in the controversial murder case.
Vybz Kartel is being represented by attorney Isat Buchanan, while Shawn Storm, whose lead attorney is Bert Samuels, is being represented by Bianca Samuels. Attorney John Clarke has taken on the case of Kartel’s other two co-accused, Andre St John and Kahira Jones. The defense attorneys now have 90 days to get their case together and dispatch documents to the Privy Council.
Vybz Kartel is currently serving life in prison for the 2011 murder of former associate Clive “Lizard” Williams. Authorities say Williams was beaten to death by the four men over two missing guns. Williams’ body was never found. Earlier this year, the aced dancehall star was granted a reduced sentenced when the Court of Appeal reduced his eligibility for parole time from 35 years to 32 years and 6 months.