An appeal hearing for incarcerated Dancehall artists Vybz Kartel, Shawn Storm, and two other men will take place in the United Kingdom-based Privy Council—Jamaica’s final appellate court—between February 14 and 15, 2024.
This expedited date was confirmed by attorney-at-law Isat Buchanan, who represents the embattled deejay currently serving a life sentence for the 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.
“The application for [an] expedited hearing was granted. The date is now February 14 and 15,” Buchanan told The Gleaner.
Back in July, Bert Samuels, the attorney for Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, had announced that the UK court had set tentative dates of April 16 through 18 in 2024 to hear the main arguments in the quartet’s appeal.
However, Buchanan said that the new dates came as a result of Kartel’s health concerns, which were made public just a few months ago. “The application was made following Mr Palmer’s medical health scare when placed in solitary confinement earlier this year,” he said.
It was revealed that Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, suffers from Graves’ disease and two heart conditions. Kartel’s conditions were allegedly exacerbated by a 23-hour prison lockdown placed on the deejay following the recent discovery of cellphones within his cell.
In an interview with Lisa Evers of FOX5 New York back in May, Buchanan painted a vivid image of what the deejay’s living condition is behind bars as he battles these health issues. “He is in a cell, and if you can picture a brick oven because that’s how those cells are built, the ventilation is next to none,” the attorney lamented at the time.
In 2013, Kartel complained of a severe chest pain. He was handcuffed and accompanied by heavily armed police officers, was treated at the Kingston Public Hospital and then taken back into custody at the Horizon Remand Center.
In July 2015, he was taken to doctors at the University Hospital of the West Indies due to severe skin inflammation. His visit created quite a security concern as scores of fans converged on the hospital to get a glimpse of him.
A similar situation occurred two years later at the same facility when he was being treated for a kidney-related issue.
Then in March 2019, he was taken to the University Hospital of the West Indies for thyroid-related problems.
Kartel was initially given 35 years before being eligible for parole. In 2014, the Jamaica Court Of Appeal largely upheld the conviction, but reduced his parole serving time to 32 years and six months.
St John, who had to serve 30 years before being eligible for parole, had his time shaved down to 27 years and six months. Shawn Storm and Jones, who had to serve 25 years before being eligible, had theirs reduced to 22 years and six months.
Earlier this year, the Privy Council rejected Vybz Kartel’s efforts to introduce fresh evidence and additional grounds for appeal in the matter. However, the main arguments in the appeal are still to be heard.