Breach of Vybz Kartel’s Constitutional Rights “Justified” Says Prosecutors

The content originally appeared on: Urban Islandz

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions began its substantive arguments on Thursday as it argued that Vybz Kartel and co-accused should be retried for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams despite their constitutional rights possibly suffering continued breach.

The Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Claudette Thompson, was grilled by Judge Marva McDonald-Bishop after she rebutted the defense’s arguments that it would be unconstitutional to retry the men more than a decade after they were charged and after the Privy Council quashed their conviction.

Days before, defense attorneys argued for Vybz Kartel, real name Adidja Palmer, Shawn ‘Storm’ Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St. John not to be retried because of the possibility that they would be subjected to an unfair trial a second time as an untainted jury could not be sourced, that the men’s right to a speedy trial would be affected. They also argued that the men had already suffered much in terms of the loss of time, which had impacted their personal, professional, and family lives.

However, Thompson agreed that a retrial would violate the men’s constitutional rights of the men, but any violation of their right to a trial in a reasonable time is justified. She argued that justice is not served as they are charged with murder.

Vybz Kartel and Likkle Addi

According to the Jamaica Gleaner, Thompson discussed that the case has gone through several stages since its conviction in 2014. This included challenges at the appeal court and court of appeal, but while it might appear lengthy to some, it should be considered “justified” in the interest of justice.

Justice McDonald-Bishop also questioned the prosecution on a timeline for the trial and the costs to be borne by the state/taxpayers if the Court of Appeal orders a retrial. If granted, this would mean that the artist and his co-accused would be in custody for 13 years and counting. Thompson estimated that the earliest date for the retrial could be 2025.

The prosecution also rebutted the question of witness availability, and Justice McDonald-Bishop was stern in her warning that the case would not be remitted for retrial if witnesses could not be found.

“The court will not be sending any case to the Supreme Court again to sit and wait until witnesses are found,” the judge said while questioning whether the prosecution can find all of the witnesses .prosecution.

The judge pointed out that the witness list submitted “doesn’t cut it”, as the prosecution has not provided any other supporting evidence that the witnesses have committed to attending and participating in the trial.

Most of the judge’s arguments and interrogations were based on the availability of witnesses. The defense, led by Isat Buchanan, John Clarke, and Bert Samuels, has argued about the matter of witnesses and the ability of the witnesses to testify to their previous sworn statements, given the expiration of time.

The prosecution will continue its submissions on Friday.

Tags: Vybz Kartel