Judge admonishes defense lawyer on day 2 of Vybz Kartel retrial hearing

“Don’t go there!”

That was the exclamation from Justice Marva McDonald-Bishop, as she defended the Court of Appeal against a criticism relating to the length of time it took to make a judgement in the murder case of Clive “Lizard” Williams.

The criticism was levied by defense attorney John Clarke as he made submissions on day two of the retrial hearing for entertainer Vybz Kartel and his three co-appellants.

Mr. Clarke argued that the Court of Appeal took 21 months to hand down its 2020 judgment in the murder appeal brought by Kartel and three others, while the Privy Council took only a month to make a ruling in March.

Justice McDonald-Bishop countered noting that the Court of Appeal had to look over all material given to the court, on the case, while the Privy Council paid attention to one narrow issue.

She argued further that the notion of delay in the matter should not be considered in a vacuum especially since the case is complex in nature.

Justice McDonald-bishop insisted that the processes of the Privy Council and the appeal court should not be compared especially in this matter. 

In response, Mr. Clarke apologized stating that it was not his intention to blame the court of appeal.

He maintained however that the case’s complexities speak to whether or not it would be fair to subject the same appellants to another prolonged and complex trial.

According to Mr. Clarke past matters that have been sent for retrial did not have their original trials surpassing days, nor were they complex in nature.

Defense attorneys will resume their arguments tomorrow, as they set out to prove that it would not be in the interest of justice, for a retrial to be ordered for their clients.

So far, they have put forward that their clients’ constitutional rights were violated based on two factors, their right to a fair hearing within reasonable time and their right to be heard by an independent and impartial court.

The defence also argued that these violations would recur if a retrial should be determined.

It was also argued that if a retrial would put the accused in a worse position than before, it should not be considered.

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 Privy Council also ruled that the matter be sent back to Jamaica’s Court of Appeal to determine whether or not a retrial should occur.

The retrial hearing is slated to end on Friday.

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


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