Vybz Kartel Lawyer Speak On Privy Council Verdict & Why Trial Was Not Fair

Attorney-at-law Bert Samuels is convinced that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council will hand down a favorable ruling for Vybz Kartel and his co-defendants. He explained the intricate details of the case, noting that the jury point raised on appeal is strong.

While on TVJ Smile Jamaica, Samuels explained that the judge erred when he decided that the panel should have less than the number prescribed.

“The judge said, ok, I’m just going to give the normal warning not to be influenced by anyone when he ought not to have done that. He ought to have removed the juror, but in 2015, the law was different. For murder, you had to have 12 jurors. You could have 11, but you can’t go below. So after 56 days of trial, the judge said, what am I going to do because I can’t go below 11, but that is an expediency argument, it’s not a justice argument,” Samuels explained.

The experienced lawyer, however, revealed that the case can’t be called yet as the Privy Council could find that that even though the judge was incorrect, the evidence was overwhelming and they lose the case or that the judges can agree that the judge was wrong and reit the case for retrial for the court appeal or they could be free.

Vybz Kartel was not given fair trial
Samuels also said his client Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, along with co-defendants Vybz Kartel, Kahira Jones, and Andrew St. John, have been incarcerated for 13 years and are hoping to be freed.

“They were not given a fair trial. A lot of people don’t understand what a fair trial is. A person who is guilty is entitled to a fair trial. A person who is innocent is entitled to a fair trial,” Samuels added.

On the jury deliberation time point, Samuels also said that the jury was pressured to deliver a verdict unusual for trials of that magnitude. He also responded to King’s Counsel Peter Knox’s arguments in court that a “serious miscarriage” of justice did not occur. However, Samuels said the KC is not practiced in a country with a written constitution like Jamaica’s.

Bert Samuels on role of DPP in the trial outcome
Meanwhile, Samuels also claimed that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Llewellyn, was also part of the pressure exerted on the trial judge Justice Lennox Campbell to continue the trial.

“You can’t encourage the judge to continue with a case. That’s what happened; the DPP herself went into the judge’s chambers and encouraged him to continue with the case while there was clear evidence that one of the [jurors] was seeking to bribe the other, and since then, that person has been convicted. That’s how alarming it is,” he said.

He added that in law, the DPP was wrong as “you can’t encourage the judge as an arm of the state- she’s an arm of the state, she must also be concerned about fair trials for Jamaican citizens and if there is someone on the jury trying to bribe others and you encourage the judge to continue with the case and it can’t fall below 10. In fact, the Privy Council judge said it was a trial by 10, and that’s not allowed.”

The lawyer also shared his views that Jamaica should have its final court of appeal rather than go to the Privy Council. In the meantime, the lawyer revealed that the appellants’ filing was 9000 pages in total, and he doesn’t anticipate a ruling until late summer of this year.

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