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Jamaica: Vybz Kartel’s murder conviction overturned

March 14, 2024

The murder convictions of Jamaican dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel and his 3 co-defendants have been overturned by the UK’s Privy Council.

Now, it’s back to authorities in Jamaica to decide whether or not the case should be retried.

In 2014, the 48-year-old, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, was given a life sentence for the killing of his associate Clive “Lizard” Williams.

Kartel and his co-accused Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, Kahira Jones and Andre St. John had maintained their innocence since the original trial.

They appealed on the grounds of juror misconduct and the hearing before the Privy Council last month, which serves as the highest court of appeal in Jamaica and other Commonwealth countries, was their last chance to reverse the verdict.

In delivering the Council’s ruling, a panel of justices said that the juror accused of attempting to bribe fellow jury members was allowed to remain on the case, and had a say in the final verdicts.

This, the council said, was “fatal to the safety of the convictions which followed” and “an infringement of the defendants’ fundamental right to a fair hearing.”

The men had also argued that jurors were sent to reach a verdict late in the day, putting them under “undue pressure” to do so, and that mobile phone evidence presented in court had been obtained in breach of guidelines.

However, the panel did not rule on these matters, finding that the allegations of bribery alone were serious enough to dismiss the guilty verdicts.

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