Lawyers Outline 12 Reasons why Kartel Should be Freed

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Lawyers for incarcerated murder convict and dancehall star, Vybz Kartel, say contaminated evidence and a series of errors by the trial judge, Lennox Campbell, are among 12 reasons why the Appeals Court should free the deejay.

The arguments were submitted to the Court of Appeal this week by Kartel’s legal team. His attorneys are seeking to overturn his 2014 conviction for murdering Clive Lizard Williams.

In the coming days, prosecutors are expected to file their response to arguments made by the lawyers for the appellants. Both sides are to make oral submissions in early July this year.

Kartel’s lawyers include Tom Tavares Finson, Valerie Neita Robertson and Bert Samuels.

The first argument submitted to the Court of Appeal by Kartel’s legal team is that the trial judge erred in admitting into evidence of cell-phones which contained data that formed a fundamental part of the prosecution’s case.

The attorneys argue that evidence heard in the trial show that the phones had been compromised and contaminated to an extent that there was more than a reasonable doubt about their integrity.

The second argument submitted is that Justice Campbell failed in his summation to adequately address the issue of the contamination of the mobile phones which he admitted into evidence.

The lawyers say Justice Campbell’s failure to do so denied Kartel a fair and balanced consideration of the case against him.

It has also been submitted to the Appeal Court that Justice Campbell blundered when he admitted into evidence a video when a time stamp on the video showed that it was made days after prosecutors alleged that Lizard Williams was killed.

According to the attorneys – Justice Campbell also misdirected himself in his comments to the jury about a letter purportedly written by the main witness in the trial.

Kartel and co-appellants are also arguing that Justice Campbell gave inadequate direction to the jury about the law of circumstantial evidence.

Attorneys Tavares Finson, Neita Robertson and Samuels have also submitted that Justice Campbell retired the jury at a time, so late in the day, as to bring undue pressure on them to arrive at a hurried verdict.
In their skeletal arguments – the attorneys said the trial judge blundered at many points in his summation where he made unjustified, unreasonable, improper and biased comments.

They’re also arguing that there was an instance during his summation that Justice Campbell appeared to refer to himself and the prosecution as “we”.

In the submission filed this week – Kartel’s legal team asked the Appeal Court to quash the dancehall entertainer’s conviction, set aside his life sentence and order that a verdict of not guilty be entered.

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Abka Fitz-Henley is a multiple award-winning journalist who is currently the Senior Reporter at Nationwide News Network (NNN). His primary areas of focus are Court, Crime and Parliamentary proceedings. Fitz-Henley was recently recognized in the regional celebrity magazine publication Panache as “The Breaking News Boss”. At 21 years of age, following his 1st year in media, Fitz-Henley was recognized with the Young Journalist of the year award from The Press Association of Jamaica and went on to cop one of the country’s highest recognized journalism prizes, the Journalist of the Year Award. He’s also been awarded the prestigious Corporate Jamaica Broilers Fairplay 1st place Award for investigative journalism and is the recipient of the Caribbean Blog Award for coverage of the infamous Kartel murder trial. Fitz-Henley is also the recipient of the PM Youth Award for Excellence. Over the years, he has appeared as a guest on the BBC World Service and BBC London.