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Jamaica – Court Rules Vybz Kartel to Remain in Jail

NEW YORK CARIB NEWS — This ruling follows a vigorous legal battle to determine if Kartel and his co-accused were being unlawfully detained. Their attorney, Isat Buchanan, argued that “a conviction must exist for there to be authority to detain” the men. In contrast, state attorneys contended that the Privy Council’s decision to quash the convictions did not amount to an acquittal but rather reverted the men to their pretrial status with active murder charges.

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Dancehall star Vybz Kartel and two of his co-accused will remain incarcerated after a judge denied their habeas corpus application on Thursday.
Dancehall star Vybz Kartel and two of his co-accused will remain incarcerated after a judge denied their habeas corpus application on Thursday.

By Mell P | New York Carib News

Dancehall star Vybz Kartel and two of his co-accused will remain incarcerated after a judge denied their habeas corpus application on Thursday.

Supreme Court Justice Andrea Thomas ruled that, without a verdict of acquittal from the Privy Council, the murder charges against Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, and his co-accused Shawn “Shawn Storm” Campbell and Andre St John, remain valid.

“In view of the fact that their appeal is not yet determined, they should remain in custody until their appeal is concluded. That is until a verdict of acquittal is entered or there is a decision for a retrial,” Justice Thomas stated to a packed courtroom in downtown Kingston.

This ruling follows a vigorous legal battle to determine if Kartel and his co-accused were being unlawfully detained. Their attorney, Isat Buchanan, argued that “a conviction must exist for there to be authority to detain” the men. In contrast, state attorneys contended that the Privy Council’s decision to quash the convictions did not amount to an acquittal but rather reverted the men to their pretrial status with active murder charges.

On May 13, the defense lawyers filed a habeas corpus application seeking their clients’ release, arguing that there was no order from the Apex Court for their continued detention and that they should, therefore, be released. The writ aimed to have the judge order the prisoners to be brought before the court to determine if they should be released or granted bail.

One co-accused, Kahira Jones, who reportedly faces another charge, was not included in the application, and no order was made regarding his status.

On March 14, the Privy Council overturned the convictions of Kartel and his co-accused for the 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams. The Privy Council directed that the case be returned to Jamaica’s Appeal Court to decide whether a retrial is necessary for Kartel, Shawn “Shawn Storm” Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St John. This ruling followed an appeal in February, where the defense raised concerns over the admissibility of telecommunication evidence, allegations of jury misconduct, and pressure on the jury to reach a verdict.

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