The Court of Appeal has questioned what’s unique about the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams, which has caused the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to be keen on retrying Vybz Kartel and his co-accused for the crime 13 years later.

The question was put to Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Claudette Thompson, on the final day of the retrial hearing for the accused men.

Justices Marva McDonald Bishop, Paulette Williams, and David Fraser will decide the matter.

Mahiri Stewart has our story.


The stark question was put to the prosecution after Justice McDonald Bishop expressed her discomfort with the fact that two other murder cases sent back to the Supreme Court in the last six years were yet to be retried.

The Justice noted that in one of the matters, the accused is alleged to have beheaded his spouse, while in the other, a policeman is accused of murdering a 14-year-old child.

Justice McDonald Bishop wanted to know what distinguishes the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams, which would cause the prosecution to seem to be prioritising this case above the others. 

The senior jurist questioned out loud why the prosecution was placing a higher premium on Williams’ murder than in the other cases that were sent back for trial.

Justice McDonald Bishop pointed out that in the other cases, one victim was a female and the other was a child.

She wanted to know what would place Williams’ case above the other two, which have yet to be retried.

Acting DPP Claudette Thompson told the Court that the prosecution was not concerned solely about victims or placing a premium on one murder over another.

She told the Justices that Kartel’s matter could be distinguished from the other two because the Crown was ready to proceed and its witnesses were in place.

Justice McDonald Bishop noted that the question she posed was necessary because, should the court order a re-trial, it would affect the administration of justice in other matters currently awaiting re-trial.

The Acting DPP told the Court that a re-trial in the Kartel matter was important due to the seriousness of the murder, the nature of the crime, the prevalence of murder, the strength of the case against the men, and the fact that the witnesses are available.

The senior prosecutor also told the court that the public interest in the matter demands that the case be tried on its merits and not merely dismissed on a technicality.

Ms. Thompson told the judges that the cost of a re-trial should not be weighed too heavily, because no price should be placed on a citizen’s life, regardless of the character of the victim in the matter.

The Office of the DPP is seeking to retry Vybz Kartel, whose given name is Adidja Palmer, Shawn Campbell, Andre St. John, and Kahira Jones, for the 2011 murder of Clive Lizard Williams.

Williams’ body has never been found.

The UK-based Privy Council overturned the convictions in March this year due to jury issues in the original trial.

The Court of Appeal has indicated it will deliver its ruling as to whether the men will be retried or freed by July 31.