Vybz Kartel Not “The Least Bit” Worried About A Retrial, But Urges Court Of Appeal To Do The “Right Thing”

Dancehall star Vybz Kartel has openly declared his readiness for a potential retrial but is calling on Jamaica’s Court of Appeal to act justly in determining whether there should be one.

This comes after the UK-based Privy Council overturned his murder conviction on Thursday and ordered that the case be sent back to the island’s Court of Appeal, a move that Kartel views as a significant victory not just for himself but for justice.

In a statement to FOX5NY journalist Lisa Evers on Thursday evening, Kartel shared his thoughts on the recent developments and his outlook on the future legal proceedings. Evers conducted Kartel’s last broadcast interview in 2021. 

“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!” he began the statement.

“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 subsequently Isat Buchanan, John Clarke, David Hislop, Hugh Southey, Julian Malins, and Allesandra Labeach pleaded my cause and my cries were heard in the land’s highest court.”

Vybz Kartel’s fiance Sidem Ozturk, and his lawyer Isat Buchanan (far right) at the UK Privy Council on Thursday.

On Thursday morning, the Privy Council sided with Kartel and his co-accused Shawn Storm, Kahira Jones, and Andre ‘Mad Suss’ St. John in finding that Juror X, who was accused of attempted bribery, should have been removed from the trial. The Council’s decision stated that the original trial judge erred when he let the accused juror participate in the final verdict, which compromised the safety of the convictions and violated the appellants’ right to a fair trial.

Bert Samuels, an attorney for Shawn Storm, has said that the four men can now request bail pending the Court of Appeal’s decision on a possible retrial.

In his statement, Kartel expressed confidence that the Court of Appeal, which previously upheld his conviction, would now do the “right thing.”

“I am also very 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?’” he said.

Kartel highlighted what he deemed to be flaws in his conviction, including the Court of Appeal’s acknowledgment of the defense’s efforts to undermine the creditability of Lamar ‘Wee’ Chow, the prosecution’s sole eyewitness.

However, the Court Of Appeal did not issue an opinion on Chow’s testimony. The court merely stated the facts of the trial regarding Chow.

They wrote: “As might have been expected, Mr Chow’s credibility was severely impugned at the trial. Among the matters relied on for this purpose were: (i) the alleged internal inconsistencies and discrepancies in his evidence; (ii) the technical evidence, which we will mention below, relating to the timing and place of origin of telephone calls to and from his cellular telephone on 16 August 2011; and (iii) the production of a letter dated 13 November 2013 purportedly written by him to the Public Defender. In the letter, Mr Chow stated that he had in fact seen the deceased alive after 16 August 2011, and that he, Mr Chow, had been pressured by the police to give the statement which he gave on 24 August 2011.”

Kartel’s statement continued: “And unsafe by analysis from forensics experts hired by my team from the United Kingdom! Not only that, police officers in the original trial also admitted that they tampered with text messages using the Cellebrite machine and even admitted that they used the cellphones which were in evidence to make phone calls and send text messages to various numbers including my then lawyer, my baby’s mother, and to my music publisher.”

He added, “With that being said, the most important point to me is that I am an innocent man. So in reality, I’m not in the least bit worried as I know I will be acquitted and go home to my family whom I have not been together with for over 1[0 years]” 

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