Kartel's heart won't survive another trial - attorney

June 12, 2024
Vybz Kartel, Shaw 'Shawn Storm' Campbell, Kahira Jones and Andre St John were all handed life sentences in April 2014 for the 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams. - File photo

Incarcerated entertainer Vybz Kartel’s heart functionality has been reduced by at least 50 per cent over the last year and has increased his chances of death, one of his attorneys says.

Attorney-at-law Isat Buchanan made the disclosure while arguing that the entertainer, whose Graves disease is worsening, will not be able to withstand another trial with his heart condition.

Citing a medical report prepared by Dr Karen Phillips on June 3 and accompanying affidavit, Buchanan said, “A retrial in circumstances where it is not his fault, it is the inability  to get the type of treatment to save his life would be unfair to him and would not be in the interest of justice to order a retrial to put him through this ordeal which, certainly on medical evidence, is something he would not sustain.

“Morbidity is the reality of mortality,” he added.

Buchanan also pointed to a psychological report, which he used to highlight the emotional toll and mental stress experienced by Vybz Kartel since his incarceration.

Buchanan asked the three-judge panel in the Court of Appeal to also look at the expenses of a new trial, the medical expenses, and the expenses covered for all the other litigants, in the first trial, along with the entertainer’s inability to earn funds to care for his dependents.

Buchanan said looking at all the factors, including the uncertainty of another trial, and the unfairness of the previous trial, it is impossible for Kartel and his co-accused to have a fair trial.

Kartel, whose given name is Adidja Palmer, Shaw 'Shawn Storm' Campbell, Kahira Jones and Andre St John were all handed life sentences in April 2014 for the 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams. 

The Court of Appeal upheld their convictions in 2020.

However, on March 14, 2024, the United Kingdom-based Privy Council, Jamaica's final court of appeal, overturned the convictions on the grounds of juror misconduct.

It said the trial judge should have dismissed tainted juror Livingston Cain, who was later found guilty of accepting a bribe to try to influence the panel. 

However, the Privy Council did not free the men.

It ordered that the Court of Appeal should decide whether there should be a retrial.

- Tanesha Mundle

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