Dancehall artiste Adedja Palmer, better known as ‘Vybz Kartel’, and his three co-accused have lost the appeal against their murder conviction, meaning that they will remain in prison.
However, their defence teams have been given seven days to submit paperwork regarding the likelihood of their respective sentences being reviewed.
Palmer, along with Kahira Jones, Andre St John and Shawn Campbell – also known as ‘Shawn Storm’, is charged with the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.
The murder allegedly took place on 16 August 2011, but the body of the deceased was never found.
On 3 April 2014, Justice Lennox Campbell sentenced all four appellants to life imprisonment at hard labour.
He ordered that Campbell and Jones should each serve a minimum of 25 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole, while Palmer and St John should serve a minimum of 35 years and 30 years respectively.
The men however appealed the case on various grounds, including the admissibility of cellular phone and video evidence, the judge’s handling of jury management issues that arose during the trial, the judge’s directions to the jury, the impact of publicity, and sentencing.
The Court of Appeal, in announcing the decision via teleconferencing a short while ago, affirmed the convictions and dismissed all but one of the appeal grounds.
In relation to the issue of sentencing, the court reserved its decision, pending the receipt of a brief note concerning the time spent on remand by each of the appellants, prior to being sentenced.
The lawyers representing the convicts should provide the notes within seven days. The court said it will render its decision on sentencing in writing within 14 days of receipt of the brief note.
Senior lawyer for Palmer, Valeria Neita Robertson, said there is a ‘real possibility’ that the Court of Appeal will reduce the sentence handed down in the lower court.
She also promised to take the matter to the island’s highest court – The Privy Council, which is located in England.
Robertson told journalists that Palmer’s lawyers will have to retain the services of a lawyer in the United Kingdom (UK).
“The Court (of Appeal) has said that they are not allowing the appeal; it is a legal term. That is why we will go to the Privy Council… That will be much more paperwork and we will have to retain Queen’s Counsel in the UK. We have persons on standby,” she further said.
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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