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Privy Council to start hearing arguments today in Vybz Kartel murder conviction appeal

By Dionne Jackson Miller
 
 
The Privy Council is today and tomorrow hearing arguments  in the murder appeal of entertainer Adijah Palmer, better known as Vybz Kartel.
 
Shawn Campbell also known as  "Shawn Storm", Kahira Jones, Andre St. John – "Mad Suss" and Adijah Palmer who is "Vybz Kartel" were all convicted on March 13, 2014 of the murder of Clive Lizard Williams. They were all sentenced to life in prison. Their appeals to the court of Appeal were dismissed and they are now before Jamaica's final court. 
 
The Issues before the Privy Council are 1. whether the telecommunications information should have been admitted into evidence, 
 
2. how the judge handled allegations of attempts to bribe jurors and 
 
3. whether the judge was wrong to invite the jury to retire and deliberate late in the day.
 
The telecommuncations evidence relates to a cell phone taken from kartel, which contained text messages, voice notes and a video which were important to the prosecution's case. This included the infamous text message said to be from kartel which said – we chop up Lizard fine fine and dash himnweh – as long as you live dem can never find him.
 
But while the phone was supposed to be in police custody it was used to make an unexplained phone call and send three text messages. The defence is arguing this compromised the integrity of the evidence and  should not have been  put before  the jury.
 
Defence lawyers are also arguing that the police obtrained information from Digicel in breach of the proper procedure under a law called the interceptions of communications act and that the appellants right to privacy was therefore breached.
 
Another concern relates to the defence's argument that the jury should have been discharged when one juror was reported to have tried to bribe the forewoman.
 
Then, after 17 weeks of trial, the judge sent the jury to deliberate at 3.42 pm on march 13. This was 20 minutes before court would normally have ended. The defence is arguing that having the jury retire so late in the day put too much pressure on them to reach a verdict.
 
 
 
 


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