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Kartel and co-accused return to Court of Appeal today in fresh push for freedom


(Jamaica Observer) LAWYERS representing dancehall star Vybz Kartel and his co-accused Shawn ‘’Shawn Storm” Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St John are headed to the Court of Appeal this morning in another bid to secure their freedom.

But prosecutors from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will be in court trying to convince the panel of judges that the four should face a fresh trial for the 2011 murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams.

The Court of Appeal is scheduled to begin hearing arguments today to determine whether to order a retrial for the four or set them free.

The hearing is scheduled to last for five days with lawyers on both sides having submitted skeleton arguments to the court last month.

Kartel and his co-accused are back before the Court of Appeal after a March 14 ruling by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council that the appeals against their convictions should be allowed and their convictions quashed on the grounds of juror misconduct.

The Privy Council further ruled that the case should be remitted to the Court of Appeal for it to decide whether to order a retrial of the men or a dismissal.

In April 2014 Kartel was sentenced to life in prison with eligibility of parole after serving 35 years. His co-accused were also handed life sentences —with Shawn Storm and Jones being eligible for parole after serving 25 years, and St John being eligible after serving 15 years.

The four men first appealed their sentences in the Court of Appeal but the convictions were upheld.

They then journeyed to the Privy Council and argued various grounds, including the admissibility of telecommunication evidence, allegations of juror misconduct, and undue pressure on the jury to reach a verdict after a late retirement.

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