Dancehall superstar Vybz Kartel denied bail

Dancehall star Vybz Kartel and two of his three co-accused remain behind bars after they were denied bail in the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Supreme Court Justice Andrea Thomas handed down the ruling contrary to reports that they had been granted bail.

In denying bail to the applicants, Thomas said in the absence of a verdict or acquittal by the Privy Council, the charge of murder remains in effect.

“In view of the fact that their appeal is not yet determined they should remain in custody until their appeal is concluded… That is until a verdict of acquittal is entered or there is a decision for a retrial,” Thomas said.

On Wednesday members of the prosecution and the defence made arguments in Kartel’s habeas corpus case which would have determined whether the artiste would given bail.

Also Read: Vybz Kartel May Be Released After Conviction Was Overturned

Lawyers representing Kartel and two of his three co-accused filed the habeas corpus application seeking their release on Monday, May 14 because of issues the defence did not wish to disclose.

The application follows the Privy Council’s March 14 ruling that Kartel and his co-accused have their convictions overturned for the 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

The Privy Council had ordered that the case be returned to Jamaica’s Appeal Court to decide whether a retrial is necessary for Kartel and his co-accused Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St John.

The Privy Council’s ruling followed an appeal made in February by lawyers representing the then-convicts, who argued various grounds, including the admissibility of telecommunication evidence, allegations of jury misconduct, and pressure on the jury to reach a verdict.

Since the ruling, the artiste has remained in prison. Shortly after, Kartel questioned the need for a retrial in his statement to Fox 5 News, saying, “I feel victorious in this very moment as the Privy Council, in their infinite wisdom, understood the assignment and remedied the situation by quashing my conviction! I am now back to being an innocent man in the eyes of the law. A grave injustice was done to me and my co-accused in the original trial… and my cries were heard in the land’s highest court.”

He added: “I am confident that the Court of Appeal in Jamaica will do the right thing in the name of equity, fairness, and justice and free us. Some people have expressed their concern to me that a retrial may be ordered, but to them I say (albeit with my limited knowledge of the law), ‘What is there to retry?’”

In April 2014, Kartel was sentenced to life in prison with eligibility for parole after serving 35 years of his sentence. 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.

SOURCE : Jamaica Observer

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