Attorneys representing Vybz Kartel and his co-appellants double down on their arguments against a retrial; citing entertainer’s ill health

Defense Attorneys representing Entertainer Vybz Kartel and his three co-appellants this morning doubled down on their arguments against a retrial. 

The third day of the retrial hearing is underway at the Court of Appeal in Kingston. 

Defense Attorney Isat Buchanan opened the submissions with arguments that the prosecution’s case will be weakened, if another trial is to occur for the four accused. 

Mr. Buchanan pointed to the issue of inadmissibility regarding evidence in the initial trial, which he said would again be challenged during a retrial.

He also argued that a retrial would not be in the best interest of justice, as the prosecution’s sole eyewitness would have a second chance at fixing deficiencies in his original statements.

This too, he argued, would also be challenged by the defense since original statements are on record. 

Mr. Buchanan also put forward that with the death of the handwriting expert – a key defense witness – his team would be at a major loss if it should again go to trial. 

He explained that the handwriting expert was the only person to view original documents brought forward in the initial trial which have now been misplaced.

Copies of the documents will now be relied upon.

The expert’s death, Mr. Buchanan maintained will put the defense at a disadvantage.

Mr. Buchanan has stressed that the entertainer’s physical and mental health will further deteriorate if a retrial should take place.

He cited a medical report which detailed that Kartel has Graves’ Disease, and a failing heart, which has lost about 50 per cent of its function since last year. 

Mr. Buchanan argued that his client would not be able to get life saving medical treatment if the matter should be set for a retrial 

This ordeal, he said, would not serve the interest of justice especially with the presence of medical evidence indicating Kartel’s physical health and mental weakness due to the initial trial.

Mr. Buchanan argued that after 13 years, the anxiety of another prolonged trial would not auger well for his health.

Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, Shawn “Shawn Storm” Campbell, Andre St. John and Kahira Jones had their murder convictions overturned by the Privy Council in March. 

They were convicted of the 2011 murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams.

The Court of Appeal will  determine whether or not a retrial should occur.

The hearing is slated to end on Friday. 

Justices McDonald-Bishop, Paulette Williams and David Fraser are deciding the case. 


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