Vybz Kartel has a strong chance of winning his upcoming appeal trial.
The appeal hearing of the incarcerated Dancehall artist is set to begin on Monday (July 9) in the Court of Appeal in downtown Kingston.
After four years of waiting to present their case in front of the appeal court judges, Kartel’s defense team, comprising top-flight attorneys Tom Tavares-Finson, Valerie Neita Robertson, and Bert Samuels, is now ready for the showdown with prosecutors.
Sources close to the artist told Hype Life Magazine that the artist’s attorneys are fully prepared for the appeal and are confident that they have a solid case.
In April, Kartel’s legal team filed supplementary grounds and skeleton arguments to have his 2014 murder conviction overturned.
According to the document submitted, the attorneys argue that the trial judge, Justice Lennox Campbell, erred in admitting contaminated cellphone evidence and there was more than reasonable doubt about the phones’ integrity.
It is also argued that Justice Campbell erred in admitting videographic evidence which was highly prejudicial and, of little, if any, probative value. By so doing, he invited the jury to speculate about the contents of the video and any possible linkages to Vybz Kartel, thereby compounding the prejudice and denying him a fair trial.
The document further stated that Justice Campbell gave inadequate directions in respect to the law of interference or to apply the law relating to it, thereby denying the jury appropriate tools to enable a fair and balanced assessment to the case.
The attorneys also submitted that Justice Campbell, after months of trial, retired the jury at a time, so late, in the day, as to bring undue pressure on them to arrive at a rushed verdict.
The lawyers said the judge also erred when he had hearings into the critical aspect of the trial and the jury in the absence of the accused.
According to them, these errors are Constitutional breaches as well as the abrogation of established principles designed to protect the rights of the citizens on trial. They are of the view that the sentence is manifestly excessive.
Despite being incarcerated, the deejay’s music continues to be in high demand.
Vybz Kartel (given name Adidja Palmer) is currently serving a life sentence for his role in the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams. He will be eligible for parole after serving 35 years. He is currently at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Facility (formerly General Penitentiary) in Kingston.
Vybz Kartel’s co-accused Kahira Jones, Andre St John, and entertainer Shawn “Shawn Storm” Campbell also received life sentences. St John will do 30 years before being considered for parole. Jones and Campbell are to serve 25 years before they will be considered eligible for parole.