Vybz Kartel’s Lawyer Isat Buchanan Confident There Will Be No Retrial

Isat Buchanan, the attorney for Adidja ‘Vybz Kartel’ Palmer, says he’s confident the Dancehall star and his three co-accused will not have to face a retrial for the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams.

Last Thursday, the UK-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) determined that attempted jury tampering and inadequate instructions from the presiding judge had led to an unfair trial of the four men in 2014. The Privy Council ordered that Kartel, Shawn “Shawn Storm” Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre “Mad Suss” St. John’s convictions be overturned and that the Jamaica Court Of Appeal should determine whether a fresh trial should be held.

Buchanan told The FIX podcast that he believes a retrial is unlikely due to a number of factors.

“…Our courts have already pronounced that eight years is a long time, they have been locked up for 13 years. Availability of witnesses, are the witnesses available? And we’re not just talking about the material witness, we are talking about officers who have retired and then what of the evidence. What about publicity? What about the prospects of having a fair hearing?” he said in the episode published Wednesday.

“It’s [the retrial] not going happen,” he added.

On the question of fairness and an impartial trial, he argued that “Just the judges in their wisdom would be able to answer that. Naturally, from where I sit, I am going to say no.”

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewelyn, however, plans to seek a retrial, citing the strength of the original case against Kartel and the three men.

Buchanan told The FIX that he respects Llewelyn’s right to pursue the retrial.

“It is her right to access the situation and make a determination of what she wants to do and just as it is, it is the defense’s position to defend,” he said.

dpp
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn

Like Llewelyn, Buchanan said he was awaiting the arrival of a formal letter from the King, before making his next legal move. “A perfected order must come from the King. The King is still actually our Head of State and he has not yet signed that document or that document has not left his desk,” he explained.

“I can tell you, up to this morning we did have sight of the draft order and we take no issue with it and so we await the king to sign off on the order that gives effect to the quashing of the conviction and the directions to our court of appeal.”

He said the Jamaican Court of Appeal will decide on the retrial based on arguments from both sides.

He hasn’t applied for Kartel’s bail yet but is expecting the Court of Appeal to address the matter promptly, considering the expedited nature of the UK appeal due to Kartel’s medical condition.

“I figure when that letter comes there will be considerations that I know in terms of the compassion of the court because the court in 2024, they don’t waste time and remember this was a hearing that was an expedited hearing on the grounds of his medical illness, it was granted on his medical position so that is not stripped away simply because it’s passed back here, the court will act under the same mandate and deal with it expeditiously,” he said.

Buchanan emphasized that if a retrial were ordered, he would be prepared, referencing the title of one of Kartel’s albums, Born Fi Dis.

“Me bawn fi dis and mi just leave it at that and you become the bad guy or the bad person. It’s facts and law not feelings, not emotions and if we are looking at the same law, you will appreciate why I say it is not a possibility,” he said.

Added Buchanan: “I want people to understand criminal law is an adversarial system and people want to win, prosecutors prosecute and defense attorneys defend and the judge judges and if you are a juror you judge as well and if you are entertained by the defense attorney the jury may say mi like tha one deh mi spirit tek him and you get a not guilty and if you like the prosecutor side you may say mi like that one deh guilty.”

“So that is the beauty of the jury system and the simplicity of it. It was enshrined from Magna Carta so we shouldn’t take it personal.”

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