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Vybz Kartel wins Privy Council appeal, awaits retrial decision

The dancehall legend takes a big step closer towards freedom

Acclaimed dancehall megastar, Adidja Palmer, more popular known as Vybz Kartel, lands a big breakthrough in his quest for freedom after his murder conviction appeal to the Privy Council proved successful.

On Mar. 14, the U.K.-based Privy Council announced that Palmer’s 2014 conviction on the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams has been “quashed.” This means the conviction is void or rejected by law. The Council concluded that the appellate court in Jamaica should review the case to determine whether he should be retried. Palmer’s co-accused, Shawn “Shawn Storm” Campbell, Andre St. John and Kahira Jones, also saw their convictions quashed.

 

Palmer and his co-accused have long maintained their innocence since the conviction. They took the case to the Privy Council, the highest court of appeal in Jamaica and fellow Commonwealth nations, in a last-ditch effort to throw out the ruling. While explaining its decision, the council cited an unfair trial after failing to remove a corrupt juror. According to the council, letting the juror stay was “fatal to the safety of the convictions which followed.” Additionally, it was “an infringement of the [defendants’] fundamental right to a fair hearing.” Last year, the juror was convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice and sentenced to nine months in prison.

Furthermore, the council argued that important evidence presented during the trial, a text message sent from Palmer’s phone, was obtained unlawfully.

Vybz Kartel Has Been Incarcerated Since 2011

Palmer stood accused of Williams’ murder, which allegedly took place after an altercation at his Havendale residence. Lamar Chow, who was Williams on the night of the incident, testified he and Williams received unlicensed guns belonging to Palmer for safekeeping. When the guns went missing, Palmer summoned the men to his house. According to Chow, they were attacked and Williams lay motionless on the ground. Williams hasn’t been seen alive again. The house was burned down and a body has never been found.

Palmer received a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 35 years in 2014. His original trial lasted 65 days, one of the longest in Jamaican history. The entertainer has been battling Graves disease behind bars and got engaged to his partner, Sidem Özturk.

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Written by Jodee Brown

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