The defense team representing Vybz Kartel are celebrating the notion by the judge in today’s appeal hearing to accept new evidence involving the Dancehall superstar and his co-accused, Shawn “Shawn Storm” Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St John.
The panel of Court of Appeal president Justice Dennis Morrison, Justice Patrick Brooks and Frank Williams accepted two of the three issues presented in the application.
However, a third issue which sought to introduce fresh evidence regarding the statements made by Kimberly Cranston along with two jurors involved in the corruption case of trial juror Cain Livingston was refused.
Lawyers of the appellants had applied for the following evidence to be admitted:
1. An affidavit given by attorney-at-law Kimberli Whittaker.
Whittaker’s affidavit includes the statements of two jurors who served in the entertainers’ 2014 murder trial.
The two statements are part of the evidence in the corruption trial of another juror who allegedly tried to influence the seven-member panel to free Kartel and his co-accused.
2. A handwritten statement by the main prosecution witness and an affidavit of murder convict Shawn Storm.
3. Affidavit by Shawn Storm about his being excluded from discussions in chambers during the trial about alleged bribe attempt of by a juror.
Prosecutor Jeremy Taylor vigourously opposed the applications.
Valerie Neita-Robertson, the attorney leading Vybz Kartel’s appeal against his murder conviction, says the incarcerated entertainer is eager for the appeal court to deal with his matter.
“I believe Mr Palmer is very anxious and he prefers not to be here, so we give him that option,” Neita-Robertson told reporters after the appeal hearing.
Neither the “Fever” deejay nor his fellow convicts turned up at the Court of Appeal this morning for the eagerly-anticipated hearing. Neita-Robertson told reporters that “it is not necessary” for him to have been in court.
“He knows the grounds we are arguing, everybody has got a copy of it so they are fully aware of what we are doing. They have had an input in it as well,” the senior lawyer said.
She also revealed that Kartel is in good spirits.
Neita-Robertson had argued that the jury was contaminated and posited that media coverage during the trial had caused the case to be prejudiced.
The court will start hearing arguments in the appeal next Monday (July 16).
Attorneys, representing the four men had argued that the case was mismanaged by the trial judge, Justice Lennox Campbell, who ignored several inconsistencies which denied their clients a fair trial.
Vybz Kartel, whose given name is Adidja Palmer, Shawn Storm, whose given name is Shawn Campbell, and their co-convicts, Kahira Jones and Andre St John are seeking to have their 2011 convictions quashed.
The convicts were granted leave to appeal their murder conviction after citing several reasons, including claims that they did not receive a fair trial and that justice was miscarried in their cases, as well as that the trial judge, Justice Lennox Campbell, had erred in admitting contaminated cellphone evidence and that there was more than reasonable doubt about the phone’s integrity.