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Court of Appeal hearing in Vybz Kartel matter underway

By Kimone Witter/Dionne Jackson Miller 
 
The Court of Appeal hearing into whether entertainer Vybz Kartel and three other men should be retried for murder began Monday morning with a preliminary objection from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
 
Kartel, whose given name is Adidja Palmer; Shawn 'Shawn Storm' Campbell; Kahira Jones; and Andre St. John were convicted in March 2014 for the murder Clive 'Lizard' Williams and sentenced to life in prison a month later.
 
On March 14 this year - ten years later - the United Kingdom-based Privy Council overturned the convictions on the grounds of juror misconduct.
 
It sent the matter back to Jamaica's Court of Appeal for it to decide whether the murder case should be retried. 
 
In the Court of Appeal hearing, preliminary objections have to be dealt with before the main arguments in the matter concerning whether there should be a retrial.
 
Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Claudette Thompson on Monday raised as a preliminary objection that affidavits had been filed in court that contained hearsay, argument, and irrelevant material. 
 
Affidavits are documents containing sworn evidence. They are supposed to contain only facts that the person knows to be true. 
 
The court agreed with the acting DPP on some points and struck out some of the statements - for example, a statement in one affidavit that government employees had leaked materials to the public. 
 
In other objections, the court disagreed and said statements can stay. One example was a statement by Vybz Kartel that his constitutional rights are being breached by the conditions in the prisons.
 
In deciding the statement could stay, presiding judge, Justice Marva McDonald-Bishop, said Kartel is supposed to be brilliant, that many prisoners read the law, and that the court cannot downplay people's intelligence.
 
The very detailed process of preliminary objection is continuing, but Justice McDonald-Bishop had said earlier that the matter will not go beyond Friday.
 


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