Saturday 11 July, 2020

Vybz Kartel Appeal: Attorney declares sentences 'manifestly excessive’

Vybz Kartel

Vybz Kartel

Defence attorney, Robert Fletcher has told the Court of Appeal that trial judge erred in the lengthy sentence he imposed on his client, Kahira Jones, one of four co-convicts in the Vybz Kartel murder case.

Jones, Kartel - real name Adidja Palmer - Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell and Andre St John were found guilty of the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams in April 2014, and all sentenced to life in prison.

Jones and Campbell were each ordered to serve 25 years before becoming eligible for parole, St John 30 years before parole consideration, and Palmer, who was described as the mastermind behind the killing, was ordered to serve 35 years before he would be eligible for parole.

Kartel would be 73 years old before he could be released.

According to Fletcher on Thursday, the sentences imposed by Justice Lennox Campbell on the men were “manifestly excessive”. He said Justice Campbell, who is now retired, failed to apply the right principles that guide sentencing, describing his approach as “faulty”.

Fletcher argued that Justice Campbell failed to consider information that would have been contained in a social enquiry report prior to sentencing. The defence attorney further argued that if this was done, it would have allowed the trial judge to arrive at a more appropriate position on the sentencing scale.

Fletcher said Jones had no prior conviction, and that should have been taken into consideration in his sentencing.

The lawyer also argued that while the judge had the antecedents on the then accused men, it was not enough, as the antecedents would have been provided by the police.

On the other hand, he said a social enquiry report would have provided a lot more information on the men, including from community members. This, he said would have provided the judge with a much longer history of the men.

On Friday, the prosecution, led by Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Jeremy Taylor, will begin its response to the defence team.

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