Vybz Kartel appeal hearing ends; Privy Council could rule in 3-4 months

Dionne Jackson Miller reports
By Dionne Jackson Miller 
The two-day Privy Council hearing of the Vybz Kartel appeal ended Thursday in London.
Thursday's hearing focused again on the jury issues.
It became clear on Wednesday that this is the primary concern of the judges and will likely be the main issue influencing their decision.
The questions are whether the juror who had tried to bribe the forewoman should have been discharged from the jury, as the attempted bribery could have biased the jury against the defendants, as well as whether the jury being sent to retire to decide on their verdict about 20 minutes before the usual end of the court day was too late in the day and put pressure on them to reach a verdict.
British Kings Counsel Peter Knox representing the government argued Thursday that the trial judge had a discretion to send the jury to retire at any time. He said the trial judge gave directions to the jury that would have addressed any possible bias on their part and that juries must be trusted to do their jobs. He said in any case, the evidence was so strong that the risk of bias was not an issue, and that the verdict was fair. He argued that if the court disagreed, the case should be sent back to the Jamaican Court of Appeal for them to decide if there should be a re-trial.
In response, British Kings Counsel Hugh Southy for the appellants said the trial judge's directions to the jury were not adequate. He said where one juror had already been let go, and another had tried bribery, the jury's verdict could not be valid. He suggested if bribery creates a problem for the Jamaican justice system, the solution is to amend the law as the British have done, so a case can continue with the judge alone.
He argued that a new trial should not be ordered since Kartel's high profile, and the length of time since the first trial would mean a fair trial is no longer possible.
The Privy Council is expected to rule in three to four months.
Kartel, whose given name is Adidja Palmer, and three others were convicted on March 13, 2014 for the murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams.
The other convicts are Shawn 'Shawn Storm' Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre 'Mad Suss' St. John.

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