The Court of Appeal will request a report from the Supreme Court detailing how cases sent for re-trial over the last six years have been dealt with.

That particular issue was decided on day one of the re-trial hearing of Vybz Kartel and his three co-accused, Shawn “Shawn Storm” Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St. John.

Mahiri Stewart reports.


The highly anticipated re-trial hearing got underway promptly at 9:30 on Monday morning.

As is the norm whenever the self styled World Boss has a matter set for mention, the courtroom was packed.

This led to a second room being used to accommodate the overflow of attorneys, journalists, and court staff who had gathered to read the legal tea leaves.

The country’s Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Claudette Thompson, took to her feet shortly after proceedings got underway.

She raised several preliminary objections to aspects of the affidavits filed by the accused men and their relatives.

Two of her objections stood out.

Kartel’s son, Adidja Jahiem Palmer, outlined in his filing that he believed his father’s heart would be unable to manage a re-trial due to a medical report.

Kartel, whose given name is Adijah Palmer, has faced several health scares since he was incarcerated in 2014.

The young Palmer alleged in his affidavit that his grandmother prays every night for his father to be released from prison.

The young Palmer alleged that his father’s imprisonment has affected their family life.

The DPP objected.

Justice Marva McDonald Bishop agreed in part. She struck out the parts of the youngster’s affidavit that spoke to his father’s medical condition.

She also rejected claims of alleged prayers from Kartel’s mother.

According to the Justice, the claims amounted to hearsay, and involved matters the younger Palmer had no competence to speak to.

The DPP’s office also attempted to object to aspects of Kartel’s affidavit claiming his human rights were being violated by terrible prison conditions in Jamaica.

The judge refused to uphold those objections.

The judges also threw out objections to aspects of Shawn Campbell’s affidavit, which criticised the coverage of the matter by untrained journalists and online bloggers. 

Shawn Storm believes that coverage has coloured public perception and has brought into question the possibility of him receiving a fair re-trial.

His sister also alleged in her filing that the family would be unable to find the money to mount a defence if a re-trial were ordered. 

She says in her affidavit that the Jamaican justice system would be unable to find an impartial jury to re-hear the matter.

Despite the Acting DPP’s objections, the Justices allowed those aspects of the affidavit to stand.

It was the affidavit of Andre St. John that raised the issue of uncertainty as to when a re-trial would be held if one were ordered.

The Justices inquired as to whether there was a backlog of cases sent back to the Supreme Court for re-trial.

Having not received a satisfactory response, Justice Marva McDonald Bishop noted that the judges would instruct the Registrar of the Court of Appeal to find out the status of cases where re-trials have been ordered.

Justice McDonald Bishop noted that the length of time it was taking for re-trials to begin was material to Kartel’s case.

She insisted that it was the need to be fair that led her to request the report. Defence counsel advised the judges that it would be fair if they requested a report on cases going back six years.

The re-trial matter is being heard by Justices Marva McDonald Bishop, Paulette Williams, and David Fraser.

Substantive arguments will begin at 9:30 Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, a member of Kartel’s legal team, Alessandra LaBeach, says despite aspects of the affidavits of the accused men and their relatives being struck out, they’re still confident in the case.

Miss LaBeach says Kartel and his co-accused are anxious to be freed.

Alessandra LaBeach, a member of Kartel’s legal team.

She was speaking with journalists outside the Court of Appeal on Monday.