Vybz Kartel granted appeal following 2014 murder verdict
(Credits: Apple Music)


Vybz Kartel granted appeal following 2014 murder verdict

Jamaican dancehall star Vybz Kartel has won an appeal in court that will see his 2011 conviction overturned. A judge has decided that Kartel’s initial incarceration resulted from a mistrial, and now the singer and his co-defendants may stand trial for a second time.

The dancehall emcee (real name Adidja Palmer) was first convicted in 2011 following the disappearance of his associate Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams. The police never found the body, and a judge concluded that he was beaten to death at Palmer’s order after losing two guns.

Following his conviction, Palmer remained in jail and in 2014, he officially began his life sentence. He has been behind bars for a decade. Palmer’s case lasted 64 days and is among one of the longest in Jamaican history.

A judge accepted Palmer’s appeal following the court’s recognition that there was misconduct by certain jury members. In 2011, rumours that jurors were accepting bribes to affect the trial’s outcome were dismissed.

As such, certain jurors appeared to be paid to deliver a guilty verdict. At the time, Palmer was involved in the infamous ‘Gully versus Gaza’ beef with his dancehall counterpart Mavado, which saw a regional battle between the Jamaican city of Portmore and Kingston.

After ten years, a privy council has accepted that it was wrong that alleged bribe-accepting jurors were allowed to remain on the jury, stating that it was “fatal to the safety of the convictions which followed” and “an infringement of the [defendants’] fundamental right to a fair hearing.”

The Privy Council is the highest court of appeal and is located in London. As a Commonwealth nation, Jamaica’s judicial system will be accountable to the council’s verdict and is the last resort for Kartel and his co-defendants Shawn Campbell, Kahira Jones and Andre St John.