Home Africa News Vybz Kartel’s 8 year m_rder conviction set to be overturned

Vybz Kartel’s 8 year m_rder conviction set to be overturned

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The Jamaican musician Vybz Kartel’s conviction for the m_rder of an associate more than a decade ago has been quashed, with a London court ruling that attempts to bribe the trial jury meant the conviction was unsafe.

The dancehall star, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, is one of Jamaica’s most popular artists and has collaborated with performers such as Jay-Z and Rihanna.

Currently serving a lengthy sentence of 32-and-a-half years for the 2014 m_rder of Clive “Lizard” Williams in Jamaica, the 48-year-old artist successfully appealed his case to the Privy Council in London.

As a result, Vybz Kartel’s case will be returned to Jamaica’s Court of Appeal, where the next steps will be determined. The court will have the option to either put him on trial again, conduct a retrial of the same case, or potentially release him from jail altogether.

After a 65-day trial, one of the longest in Jamaican history, Kartel and three others were convicted in 2014. Kartel was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 35 years, later reduced on appeal to 32 and a half.

The trial recounted the events leading to Clive Williams’ disappearance after he and Lamar Chow were entrusted with Kartel’s unlicensed firearms for safekeeping.

When they failed to return the weapons as agreed upon, prosecutors alleged that they were summoned to Kartel’s residence in August 2011.

Chow testified that they were attacked, and the last image he recalled was Clive Williams lying motionless on the ground, never to be seen alive again. Several days later, the house was set on fire, and Williams’ body was never recovered.

Throughout the legal proceedings, Vybz Kartel and his co-accused—Shawn Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St John—maintained their innocence.

Their appeal, brought before the Privy Council in February this year, was their final opportunity to overturn the guilty verdict. The Privy Council, serving as the highest court of appeal in Jamaica and other Commonwealth countries, recently delivered its ruling.

The council’s panel of justices determined that the juror accused of attempting to bribe fellow jury members had not been removed from the trial. Allowing this juror to remain and participate in the final verdicts, the council concluded, compromised the integrity of the convictions. They deemed it a violation of the defendants’ fundamental right to a fair hearing.

The defendants had also raised concerns about the pressures placed on jurors to reach a verdict late in the day, as well as the alleged improper acquisition of a crucial piece of mobile phone evidence—a text message purportedly sent from Kartel’s phone. However, the panel did not address these matters, as the allegations of bribery alone were deemed sufficient to overturn the guilty verdicts.

Vybz Kartel gained global recognition for his chart-topping hits such as “Clarks,” “Ramping Shop,” and “Summer Time.” His success extended beyond music, prompting ventures into shoe, alcohol, and condom lines. Moreover, he became the first dancehall artist to star in his own reality TV show called “Teacha’s Pet.”

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