Vybz Kartel Will Be Retried For Murder If DPP Paula Llewellyn Has Her Way

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn says her office will ask the Court of Appeal to order a retrial for Vybz Kartel and his three co-accused Shawn “Shawn Storm” Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre “Mad Suss” St. John for the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams.

Yesterday, the DPP also told Irie FM that her office is awaiting a notice from the Court of Appeal regarding the hearing date for the quartet’s case.  She said that as soon as a date is provided, her team will begin preparing submissions.

“I believe we would be obliged to, given the strength of the case for the prosecution that was put up and given the authority and the case law… as I reflect going forward to my retirement next year, I have been too successful in seeking ad I am happy about it – to sensitize the public, sensitize the media to try to explain a lot of complex issues.  Very often, when you have knowledge of the state of the law in any particular area, for example retrials, the prosecutors, are obliged to go on a particular path,” she told Nationwide News.

The quartet had their murder convictions overturned in the UK-based Privy Council last week Thursday, after being convicted in 2014 for the 2011 murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams and sentenced to life in prison.

The Privy Council, in overturning their convictions, determined that interference with the jury and inadequate instructions from the presiding judge had led to a miscarriage of justice.  The British Law Lords also ruled that the Jamaican Court of Appeal must determine whether or not a re-trial ought to be held.

With respect to criticisms of her handling of the murder case, where she encouraged the judge to proceed with the case despite learning that a juror was offering bribes to other jurors to free Kartel, Llewellyn emphasized that her office is staffed with seasoned prosecutors, who despite great provocation, have, and will continue to be dispassionate and act in accordance with the law as they pursue the retrial.

“The public has to be aware that the issue of retrial, far as prosecutors and the judiciary are concerned have nothing to do with emotions.  It has nothing to do with who the accused is.  It has to do with the seriousness of the offence; the public interest, how perhaps expensive it may be to mount the retrial,” she told Nationwide News.

“It doesn’t even have to do with what the likely verdict may be, but it has to do with a number of factors, which have been outlined in what we call the locus classicus from the Privy Council… ,” she added.

On Friday, acclaimed attorney-at-law Bert Samuels had argued that it would be “unfortunate” if the DPP sought a retrial in the case, “given her role in having the initial case continued in the Supreme Court.”

Samuels, who represented Shawn Storm in the matter, had said the DPP was the one who encouraged the judge to proceed with the case despite learning of the errant juror’s misdeeds during the trial.

Lord Lloyd-Jones of the UK-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council said on Thursday, in handing down the ruling, that the trial should not have continued with the “tainted juror.”

The Law Lord had pointed out that allowing the juror to continue being a part of the case “was fatal to the conviction that followed and was an infringement of the appellants’ fundamental rights to a fair hearing under the Constitution”.

Samuels said the DPP not only erred when she asked the judge to continue the trial after learning about the bribery allegations involving the juror, but would be less-than-honest if she asked for a retrial, given her role in the matter.

“So if she encouraged something that the Privy Council is saying was wrong to have happened, it seems to me disingenuous that she could ever want to come and say something that I was actively a participant in – that is to abrogate and derogate the rights of the appellants – I don’t think that she should in good conscience come to the court to say a retrial,” Samuels had stated on Radio Jamaica’s Beyond the Headlines on Thursday.

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