CAD says Vybz Kartel and co-appellants still facing murder charge

The Court Administration Division says dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel and his co-appellants are still facing a murder charge.

This, as it notes that the UK Privy Council only quashed the conviction, meaning the men revert to their pre-trial status.

The men will therefore have to await the ruling of the local appeal court, on the matter of a re-trial which will also effectively determine if they should, or should not, be released.

This explanation was outlined in a statement from the court administration following yesterday’s ruling by the court, on a writ of Habeas Corpus application.
The CAD’s statement comes in the wake of public reaction to reports that Kartel will remain behind bars, with supporters of the artiste left disappointed, as they were hoping for his release.

Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, Shawn Campbell otherwise called Shawn Storm, and Andre St. John, had sought release from prison on 3 main grounds.

These are; that the applicants are currently in custody without any valid conviction or order of any court; that the applicants are in custody contrary to the constitution as they are not serving any sentence or in custody in respect of any criminal offence of which they are currently convicted; and that the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre has no lawful reason pursuant to the Corrections Act or any other law to hold the applicants in custody.

The applicants were contending that, their convictions having been quashed by the UK Privy Council, continued detention is unlawful.

Counsel for the applicants argued that the applicants’ status is uncertain at this stage, and that they are basically in “no man’s land”.

The court ruled yesterday that, in the absence of a judgment of acquittal by the UK Privy Council, the charge of murder against the applicants remains in effect, awaiting the decision of the local Court of Appeal.

It reasoned that the UK Privy Council has instead remitted that issue be determined by the local Court of Appeal.

In addition, there are provisions in law for a new trial, upon the quashing of a conviction, on the same charge.

Therefore, the only logical conclusion that can emanate from a proper reading of these provisions, is that the effect of the quashing of the conviction by the UK Privy Council, without more, does not automatically result in the removal of the charge of murder against the applicants.

The judge ruled that the superintendent at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, in refusing to release the applicants, was acting lawfully within the provisions of the Corrections Act.


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