Vybz Kartel is scheduled to begin in the Court of Appeal on Monday (Juy 9).
Lawyers for all four appellants are primed to attempt to bore holes in the convictions of their clients.
The team, comprising attorneys Tom Tavares-Finson, Valerie Neita-Robertson and Bert Samuels, reportedly raised a dozen reasons why the appellants should be freed.
The documents submitted by the attorneys outlined what has been described as a litany of errors that were supposedly made by the trial judge, Justice Lennox Campbell, which were said to have led to the convictions.
Bert Samuels revealed that fresh evidence is slated to be admitted in the case.
“There are four appellants, and my firm is representing Shawn Campbell. My team of attorneys will be arguing that fresh evidence should to be admitted in the case. We are a team working for all four appellants, and we believe that there is sufficient grounds of appeal that will spur the Court of Appeal to look seriously at this matter,” said Samuels on Sunday in relation to his client, who is better known as recording artiste, ‘Shawn Storm’.
“The grounds of appeal span between the judge being biased, the accused, Shawn Campbell, not being present for the composition of (the) jury, and also being denied the right of hearing and right to be present when material evidence was being presented against him,” Samuels added.
He pointed to key cell site evidence as a major point which could have swung the case in the appellants’ favour.
“…, the main witness of fact, actually said two different things. One statement said that he got to Swallowfield (Avenue) at 5:30 p.m., and then to the police, he said he got there at 8:00 in the night. And we have the cell site evidence that shows that Williams, rather than being at Swallowfield (Avenue), was in St Catherine at the time he was allegedly being assaulted. The cell site evidence proves that way after 7:00, the deceased was still in St Catherine, that is scientific evidence,” Samuels said.
The attorneys are contending that the judge who presided over his murder trial erred when he allowed prosecutors to use text messages and video evidence collected from his cell phone.
The assertions are among 16 grounds filed by Kartel’s attorneys, Valerie Neita Robertson and Tom Tavares-Finson, to convince the Court of Appeal to quash his murder conviction.
The attorneys argued that the evidence had demonstrated that these had been compromised and contaminated to such an extent that there was more than a reasonable doubt about their integrity as evidence.
The 65-day trial, which captured national attention, featured video, text, and audio messages, which police investigators claim were taken from Kartel’s BlackBerry cell phone.
However, Kartel’s attorneys, in their appeal, pointed to evidence presented during the trial that one of the phones was used several times while it was in the custody of police investigators.
Kartel’s attorneys argue that given the importance of the cell phones to the case against the entertainer, prosecutors had a duty “to show that integrity of the electronic device was uncompromised”.
Justice Lennox Campbell, was also faulted for allowing video evidence from the phone to be used as evidence. According to the attorneys, the video evidence was “highly prejudicial and of little, if any, probative value”.
“By doing so, he invited the jury to speculate about contents of the video and any possible linkages to the appellants, thereby compounding the prejudice and denying them a fair trial,” they argued.
Samuels suggested that the judge’s bias came out through inadequate directions to the jury in respect to the law of interference, or in applying the law relating to it, which the attorney said denied the jury appropriate tools to ensure a fair and balanced assessment of the case.
He argued that this was an abrogation of established principles designed to protect the rights of citizens on trial
“Justice Campbell did not remind the jury of the cell site evidence. He should have reminded them of what we lawyers call exclusionary evidence, and how the cell site evidence proved that the main witness’ testimony claimed that Williams was at Swallowfield Avenue where men were supposed to be killing him at the time he was in St. Catherine; come on!” Samuels said.
Exclusionary evidence is said to be a rule of evidence that excludes or suppresses evidence obtained in violation of a defendant’s constitutional rights.
The lawyers also believe that the sentence was “manifestly excessive”, and that the trial judge made errors which amounted to serious constitutional breaches.
Kartel, real name Adidja Palmer, was convicted in April 2014, along with fellow entertainer Shawn Storm, real name Shawn Campbell, as well as Kahira Jones and Andre St John, for killing Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams in 2011.
They were all given the mandatory sentence of life in prison, with Kartel ordered to serve 35 years before being eligible for parole, while Campbell, Jones, and St John were ordered to serve 25 years before being eligible for parole.