Vybz Kartel appeal still unpredictable – Lawyer

February 23, 2023
Vybz Kartel
Vybz Kartel

Attorney Oswest Senior-Smith said it would be "premature and speculative" for persons to predict the outcome of Vybz Kartel's murder conviction appeal even after a report on Wednesday emerged that the Privy Council denied a request for fresh evidence to be presented.

"What I can say is that in my few years, I have never seen the Privy Council make a ruling of that nature before without addressing the substantive case at the same time. I have never come across that," said the experienced lawyer. Tongues continue to wag about how the Privy Council will rule when the conviction is considered. For some, the denial of the request to have fresh evidence presented indicated an end to hopes that the Worl' Boss and his co-accused will get their 2014 murder conviction overturned. Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn, clarified that the rejected request was in relation to the phone that is at the centre of the case.

However Senior-Smith, who previously represented Andre St John, one of Kartel's three co-accused, said it was still early days yet.

"I do know that when we argued in the Court of Appeal, we thought that our arguments had great merit and no doubts some of those arguments, or arguments of a similar nature, will be presented to the Privy Council. So there might very well be success. But you can't tell at this stage at all," he said.

Prominent entertainment consultant Clyde McKenzie said he was not surprised that the report created a stir in both social and mainstream media.

"He [Kartel] is a hitmaker. I think that is part of it and he was a dominant figure in dancehall. I think that is something that resonates with Jamaican youths, which I think is where his strong appeal is. It's like a cult. He also has the ability to create hits at any time," said McKenzie.

"I pay a pretty close attention to it [the appeal] wanting to see how it would turn out but we don't know. His lawyers felt that there are points of appeal they are pursuing, so one has to see what happens," he said.

Kartel, given name Adidja Palmer, was given a life sentence for the 2011 murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams. He and his co-accused, Shawn 'Shawn Storm' Campbell, Kahira Jones and St John, were, in 2020, granted conditional leave to go to the Privy Council to challenge their murder conviction. Kartel must serve 35 years before being eligible for parole, while his co-accused were each ordered to serve 25 years before parole eligibility. The Court of Appeal shaved off more than two and a half years off the times.

The men filed an application seeking to go to the Privy Council, Jamaica's final court, after their appeal was rejected in April 2020.

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